Are you—and your business—suffering the effects of online defamation?
Defamation is the spreading of false information to someone other than who the information is about. In the online world, this is very easy to do. Anyone with an internet connection can create a blog and post false information. And then spread that information through social media channels, or use the social media channels to post and spread the defamatory content.
Defamation with the written word or other forms of media is known as libel. This is different from the spoken variety which is slander. And it has led to the question: where does freedom of expression end and libel begin?
Freedom of expression or libel?
Legally speaking, the difference between expressing an opinion and libel is not altogether straightforward. With the proliferation of media distribution channels online, policing them all is difficult. Not to mention arguing freedom of expression against libel can, in some cases, raise issues.
However, in simplistic terms it comes down to a basic question: does anyone have the right to ruin someone’s reputation with false, misleading and/or salacious content? Can an individual or group hide behind the idea of freedom of expression to ruin someone?
The answer is no. At least as far as the law is concerned.
For many of us, our online reputation is inextricably linked with our offline reputation. How we are seen online can impact our lives in a big way.
More than ever prospective employers, sponsors and business partners are taking notice of our online presence. And judging us on how we appear online.
You have a legal right to remove defamatory content
If the content posted is deemed defamatory, you have the right to ask for its removal. After all, why should someone be allowed to harm your reputation with malicious lies?
The Red Sea Agency has already helped a client who was losing sponsorship deals because of defamatory content. Our team was able to remove the content and improve her online presence by removing a roadblock in her career.
Is someone sharing false information about you?
The Red Sea Agency can help remove online defamation. Contact our team to start protecting your business or personal brand.
Frequently Asked Questions
The line between freedom of speech and defamation is a fine one and knowing which side is which is crucial to any individual or company with a social media presence.
While a disgruntled customer is entitled to leave a negative review on a social media site, if they make untrue claims about the product or service or are personally threatening towards any of the employees, this is defamation.
As social media defamation is hurtful and damaging to your reputation, you’ll most likely feel angry and upset by a defamatory post. Try not to respond in the heat of the moment, however, and take your time to compile a polite and constructive response to the accusations. Contact the commenter and the website where the comment has been posted and ask if they’re willing to remove the post. In most instances, you won’t have to take any further action.
A company specialising in online reputation management, like The Red Sea Agency, have a few tricks up their sleeves when it comes to social media defamation. Not only can they help you use the correct channels to deal with the problem, they can also assist in the production of positive content that can help to lessen the repercussions of the defamatory post. They can also give you some non-legal advice about the best course of action.
Sometimes we’re not even aware that we’ve made a defamatory comment until after we’ve hit the ‘post’ button. Unfortunately, ignorance doesn’t make you innocent. The first step is to remove the comment and you may even choose to print an apology in its place. Even if you didn’t make the original comment but merely shared someone else’s post, you can still be libel for its contents so think before you share and consider whether the content is harmful before you commit.
In most instances, removing the offending comment is a straightforward process. On some social media platforms, such as Twitter, the process can be a little more complex which is why using a reputable online reputation management company can be very useful, especially when the comment is particularly damning. Not all defamatory comments are libellous but expert advice will go a long way to resolving the problem, regardless of its severity.