With the advent of the Internet, news that once took days to circulate now spreads and multiplies within seconds. Comments that once might have been made in person between friends, on the phone or in the newspaper are now posted on blogs, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Yelp, and other social media sites for all the world to see.
Blum Law Firm pursues claims against those who use the Internet to make defamatory, false or unjust claims against others. To find out more about our Internet defamation law practice, contact us.
What Are Online Defamation, Internet Libel and Internet Slander?
Defamation is the broadest of the three terms, encompassing both libel and slander. It refers to the act of holding a person up to ridicule, scorn or contempt. Malicious, false or unjust statements, whether written or spoken, tend to injure the reputation of the person being falsely accused or ridiculed.
Libel is a form of defamation in which the communication is made by means of print, writing, pictures or signs. In other words, libel is written defamation.
Slander is a form of defamation in which a false and malicious statement is made verbally.
As the Internet increases in popularity, blogs, YouTube, social media sites and other websites have become a haven for online defamation. The posting of such material on Internet “gripe sites” can inflict far-reaching and permanent damage:
- A business that is the target of defamation by a former worker or unhappy customer may lose revenue and could ultimately be forced out of business.
- A professional such as a doctor, lawyer, dentist or accountant may lose clients as a result of malicious accusations.
- An individual may be targeted for harassment by a cyber bully.
Legal Ways to Protect Your Online Reputation and Fight Internet Defamation, Libel and Slander
When a business, professional or individual becomes the target of an online defamatory statement, the first step in fighting back is having the information removed both from the website and the search engine cache. A defamation lawsuit may also be filed against the individual making the statement.