Defamed on social media
If you have suffered damage to your reputation as a result of being defamed on social media we can help you seek vindication through libel law.
In many instances postings on social media are flows of consciousness that go unnoticed or are quickly forgotten. Equally, postings can be 'shared', 're-tweeted', 'liked', copied and end up 'going viral'. Where a posting is defamatory, the damage done by a social media posting can be significant. Within a social group a reputation can quickly be destroyed.
We can assist clients taking legal action against individuals who have posted material on any social media platform. These include Facebook, WhatsApp, Twitter, Google+, YouTube, Instagram, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Tumblr and Foursquare.
When establishing a defamation claim it is generally immaterial whether a defendant has launched a deliberate attack on your reputation, fired off a post in anger or innocently repeated a defamatory statement made by a third party. If the post is read and reputational damage has been suffered then you may be able to pursue a claim for libel.
Defamation is not simply a numbers game, but generally the more readers the offending post has the greater the likelihood of reputational damage. Damage may increase further, and additional claims arise, if the defamatory message is republished elsewhere. Conversely if the level of readership is low then a claim for libel may fail unless it can be established on evidence that the posting has caused or is likely to cause serious reputational harm.
The normal laws of libel apply to publications on social media, including the ability of the defendant to raise various defences. For example, the defence of truth or honest opinion (sections 2 and 3 of the Defamation Act 2013).
The remedies we can seek on your behalf include: removal, an apology/clarification, damages/ compensation, and an undertaking (promise) not to repeat. In matters that go to court we can seek damages and an injunction. On occasions, a statement can be made in open court putting the record straight.
In some instances a poster will be anonymous or pseudo-anonymous (i.e. they will use an alias). We can advise you on your options, including asking intermediaries such as Facebook to remove the offending content or the scope for seeking a type of court order known as a Norwich Pharmacal Order requiring the disclosure of information which might identify the poster.
We will also consider other potential causes of action. These include:
- The misuse of private information and/or breach of confidence, where there has been a breach of your privacy or confidence.
- Breach of data protection rights under the General Data Protection Regulation ('GDPR') and Data Protection Act 2018.
- Harassment - In some circumstances this may also give rise to criminal liability.
How do I instruct Brett Wilson LLP?
To arrange a consultation with one of our defamation lawyers, or to find out how we can support you, please send us an email, complete our online enquiry form or call us on 020 3813 5366.