Online Defamation

Introduction to Cyber Smear

We’ve all had the moments where we wish we could just forget. The Internet, however, does not forget. In fact, the Internet is a 24/7 watch dog that never blinks. What has been published today, may be memorialized for your future progeny to read.

Taken together with today’s socially connected world, your online reputation is just as important as your ‘analog’ reputation. That is, when a person wants to learn more about your company or you, most often, they will perform a Google search to find out information relating to your firm or you.

What is online defamation?

Online defamation occurs when the Defendant makes a false and unprivileged statement about the Plaintiff to a third party online, and that communication damaged Plaintiff.

The false communication must be a statement of fact. Opinions do not count.
The false statement must be unprivileged, meaning that the Plaintiff did not consent and the Defendant lacked a legally justifiable reason to communicate that false statement to third persons.
Third party prong is easy to satisfy because the Internet opens up the Defendant’s communication to the entire Internet-viewing public.
The Plaintiff’s professional or personal reputation must suffer some kind of pecuniary harm.

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