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Defamation of Character on Facebook and What Can Be Done

By John DiGiacomo

As many know, Facebook, now known as Meta Platforms, Inc., is a social media platform that allows users to upload content including video and commentary. It is, of course, a great way for family and friends to stay connected and for building communities of mutual interest.

But Facebook and other social media platforms can also be a place where false, fake, untruthful and damaging information can be uploaded and posted. Worse still, such false information and lies can be linked and reposted almost endlessly across the internet. Legally, this is called defamation of character and it can be punished under the law. If you have been a victim of this kind of attack, you want the false information and lies removed and you want the perpetrators to pay money damages for the injuries and damages caused.

What Can be Done?

An experienced Facebook Defamation law firm, like Revision Legal, will offer advice and counsel on the possibility of suing for defamation of character. Some of the legal elements that must be proven for a successful defamation of character lawsuit are “easy” with respect to defamation of character on Facebook. For example, to succeed, the victim must show that the false information was “published” to and seen by third parties. Almost by definition, these two legal elements are proven with Facebook postings. Of course, the victim must prove that the information posted was false and must show that there was some injury or damage to reputation caused by the posting — publication — of the false information. If you have been a victim of online defamation and have been searching for a “defamation lawyer near me,” call us. We handle internet libel and internet slander cases.

With some types of false information and lies, the law states that injury/damage is automatically demonstrated (for legal purposes). This is called defamation per se. Examples of defamation per se include false statements that a person is diseased, is a criminal, is incompetent and/or is sexually promiscuous. Under the law, these per se defamatory statements are presumed to cause injury and damage to reputation. If the false statements are notof this type, then the victim must show some other sort of injury or damage like the loss of business or a contract or something of that nature.

If all the legal elements are proven, then money damages can be awarded to punish the person making the false statements.

Who Can be Sued?

Generally, the person making the false statement is the person that can be sued. “Person” in this context can also include a business. So, business defamation on Facebook can be punished in this manner. Depending on the circumstances, republishers of the false statements can also be sued. Generally, to win, a victim must show that the person making the false statement knew the statement was false or at least had reason to believe it was false or was reckless with respect to the truth or falsity of the statement. This is true for anyone who republished a false statement by linking, reposting or quoting the false statement. This knowledge requirement may make it more difficult to succeed in a defamation lawsuit against republishers, but the effort should still be made.

On the other hand, it is difficult to sue Facebook/Meta. There is immunity given by statute to online social media platforms like Facebook/Meta. Only in rare circumstances can a social media platform be held legally liable for defamation of character that is posted by their users.

Contact Revision Legal If you need an experienced team of internet defamation attorneys, call Revision Legal at 231-714-0100. We are internet and social media influence attorneys with proven experience with IP protection, contract law and complex litigation. We are lawyers specializing in internet law.

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