Online Defamation is More Than Hurting a Person’s Reputation
Defamation occurs when someone makes false and harmful statements about you. An example of defamation is the Johnny Depp and Amber Heard case, which shows how online defamation can damage people’s reputations and strip them of potential opportunities, income, and more.
What is Online Defamation?
Defamation comprises slander, which is spoken defamation, and libel, which is written. Online defamation is considered libel as opposed to slander because most material online—video, audio, or text— is storable and retrievable. Online defamation occurs when someone:
- Posts something untrue about you that damages your reputation
- Spread untrue information about you to third parties
- Make you become despised, derided, ostracized, or less honorable in the eyes of people who saw it
- Cost you other economic and non-economic losses
Who Should be Responsible for Online Defamation?
The Alleged Defamer
Your first action against defamation should be directed towards the defamer — the person who made the defamatory post (not people who may have shared, reposted, or retweeted it). Follow these steps if you are a victim of online defamation:
- Message the party to delete the post
- Report the account to the online platform managers
- Suppress the defamation with Search Engine Optimization tactics
- Write a cease and desist letter
- File a defamation lawsuit
The Online Media Platform and The Internet Service Provider
Under Section 230 of the US Communications Decency Act 1996, social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram are shielded from defamation lawsuits because the law regards them as passive internet users. This means, even though they are obligated to keep their platforms safe and non-toxic, they are not mandated by law to scrutinize every single tweet or clip, as a newspaper would do before it gets published.
When Should You Sue For Online Defamation?
Before you send a cease and desist letter or file a defamation lawsuit, ensure you can prove that:
|It’s untrue||Any trace of truth can nullify your defamation allegation, so you’ll have to provide your truth to prove the post is false in its entirety.|
|There’s negligence or malicious intent||In addition to being false, you should also be able to prove that the defamer turned defendant was careless and irresponsible to make that post. You’ll also have to prove to the court that the defamer acted with malicious intent to willfully hurt your reputation.|
|There are third-parties||Likes, shares, retweets, views, and comments on an online post may be used to prove the defamatory message was shared with third parties.|
|There are damages incurred||Damages can be economic in the form of lost job opportunities and contracts, or non-economic such as infamy, negative public perception, and other health-related damages like depression, suicidal attempts, and aggravated medical conditions.|
Before You File A Defamation Lawsuit
Serve your defamer a cease and desist letter. This is most advisable as it lends credence to your lawsuit, should you eventually need one. A cease and desist letter serves as a stern warning that you would drag them to court if they fail to obey your requests.
You should know, however, that all that has been mentioned in the last section must be reflected in your letter, which makes it pretty complex to write. There are thousands of template choices online but they only offer a generic pattern that may end up making your case look less serious or overly exaggerated. You could choose to have a lawyer help you draft your letter, but be wary of the pocket-ripping costs. A great option would be getting a legal service provider like DoNotPay to draft and serve your cease and desist letter.
Get A Defamation Cease and Desist Letter With DoNotPay
DoNotPay’s Cease and Desist Letter is an excellent choice to tackle online defamation and even harassment. The robot lawyer will detail all the information about the case, demand the retraction of the defamatory statement(s), warn against future actions, and abide by the relevant state statutes. All you need to do is:
1. Search Defamation on DoNotPay.
2. Tell us about your situation
- Were the statements slander or libel?
- What were the statements?
- Why are they false or misleading?
- What consequences have you suffered as a result of these statements?
3. Based on your location, DoNotPay will immediately generate a formal demand letter on your behalf, with the most relevant state legislation regarding defamation.
That’s it! You can expect a precisely drafted cease and desist letter to your cause, in an instant!
What Else Can DoNotPay Do?
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