Internet Slander Laws
The Internet provides an excellent forum for defamation, but the rules apply differently for online and traditional media. While the original speaker is responsible for defamatory statements, anyone who repeats them can be held responsible as well. If you want to sue someone for defamation, you must have knowledge of the defamatory statement. To protect yourself from liability, Congress has passed Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, which provides a broad shield for "intermediaries" and webmasters who publish or distribute materials on the Internet. The FAQ contains more information on Section 230.
This protection for websites is particularly helpful if the defendant was out of state at the time the slander occurred. Often, a website or ISP is the defendant in an online defamation case, and plaintiffs can pursue a lawsuit against them even if they are not located in their state. In this situation, a wealthy company can afford to pay the plaintiff's damages demand. However, this approach to internet slander lawsuits is rarely a viable legal option. In the United States, the Communications Decency Act protects website hosts, social media platforms, and ISPs. As such, the courts will not treat these entities as publishers if they violate the law.
Because the Internet allows anonymous speech, it is often difficult to track down the identity of the poster. Oftentimes, the poster uses their name and email address, but their social media accounts belong to others. The identity of the poster may be difficult to trace unless the defendant subpoenas the records of phone and internet service providers. If a defamation lawsuit does proceed, it's important to know the identity of the defaming party and respond appropriately.
In addition to protecting individuals, businesses need to protect themselves from online internet defamation. Online business owners should not ignore this growing problem. A single disgruntled person can post dozens of negative reviews, defamatory comments, or even threats about their business online. In many cases, defamatory material is posted anonymously, which makes it even harder to trace the person responsible. If you want to protect your reputation, contact Lawyer.
Filing a lawsuit against an unknown defendant is also an option. If the person posting the defamatory content uses the same pseudonym online, they might leave a digital trail. This trail can lead to their city, occupation, and even school. If there are any clues, these clues may point to their personal Facebook account. Ultimately, this can lead to damages and legal action. If the individual has enough assets, the defendant may be held liable for defamation related to their website.
While it may be tempting to simply ignore defamatory content on the Internet, this is not the best option. The content may continue to spread and attract unwanted attention. You may end up attracting more damage than you can afford. It is important to understand the scope of the defamation and seek the advice of a qualified defamation attorney. In many instances, the defendant is not able to delete the content unless the defamatory statement continues to circulate in the internet.