Some people believe that they can write anything about anybody online. But when someone posts false statements with the intention to damage the reputation of an individual or a business, whether on blogs, forums, websites or social media, this can be considered as online defamation. False written statements like these are also known as libel.
What kind of statements would be considered as defamation or libel?
An insulting statement that can be proven as false would be considered as defamation. For example, if you spread a false rumour about your ex-girlfriend, it is libelous.
What are the risks of online defamation?
Many Internet users believe that they are free to speak their mind. They should remember that defamation laws and regulations apply to online defamation as well. If you come across any negative online comments, it is advisable not to repost it, as you may be charged as if you are the one who originally published the comment.
How can I avoid committing online defamation?
Make sure that you have the facts straight before posting a statement or comment about someone on the Internet. Remember that once it’s online, you can’t take it back. If you’re not sure, why post anything about it at all?
I’ve become a victim of online defamation. What should I do?
If possible, save the evidence and report the matter to the authorities. Many social networking sites allow users to report harassment, abuse and fake accounts. It may be difficult to trace a specific individual who has posted an online defamatory comment, but it’s possible to trace the computer that was used to publish it.