Internet Defamation and How it Can Affect You

Internet Defamation

Internet Defamation

Internet Defamation is a very serious crime especially when it comes to businesses, and there have been cases of punitive damages having to be paid out in hundreds of thousands of dollars because of it. Internet defamation means anything that is published online that is told as a fact, but has no factual basis at all.  It also denotes content that was published with malice or negligence. That means if you post a blog about celebrity rumors and state it as fact but you know it not to be true, then you can be sued for libelous damages.

 

Libel, on the other hand, is the written version of defamation and slander is the spoken version. Both of these can be found on the Internet, the first being through blogs, articles, and even status updates using the written word, and the second being found on videos or within voice files that knowingly state rumors/lies as facts.

 

Why is it a Problem?

The reason this can be such an issue is because it is your entire reputation at stake. Before the Internet, word of mouth was easy to get around.  Eventually, people forgot the rumor or it was proven to not be true. With the Internet though, it gets constantly circulated with supposed proof and reasons that are hard to disprove without large amounts of effort. These days, everyone operates on the Internet too.  Between email, Facebook, Google, and everything else, it is important that your name on the Internet is clean. Otherwise, if a future employer decides to Google you just to see what will pop up, there could be an article about what a terrible person you are which makes you lose the job of a lifetime.

 

How to Fix Internet Defamation

Thankfully, for most of the sites where Internet defamation can occur, there are always steps you can take with the website to rectify it. If you do find yourself with libelous information on the Internet, the first step is to find the website it is posted on. After that, there should be a contact page from which you can reach the administrators.  If there is no contact page though, you can look up the information with www.whois.domaintools.com. Then, you can write an email to the administrators requesting that the information be altered or taken down altogether. If the website does not respond or follow through on the request at that point, you can contact a defamation lawyer and begin the steps to take care of it legally.

 

Retract Libelous Statements

If you run your own website or frequent blog sites from which you put a lot of your own written words on the Internet, then it is even more important for you to be aware of Internet defamation. If you are the subject of libel, your reputation could be threatened.  If you commit libel even without doing it on purpose, your reputation can be ruined. With a black mark on your record for not having absolute facts, people will quit going to you for their information. If you are ever accused of libel, right the wrong immediately by taking down the information, correcting it, and writing an apology letter to the victim. This means you will need to officially retract the statement for all to see, so there is no doubt in the public’s mind that you made an unintended error.

 

There are companies out there who can watch for Internet defamation, and not only notify you if any appears, but also to take steps to get rid of it.  This allows you to sit back and enjoy the peace of mind that comes with knowing that your name is not on the line. This is still important even if you think your name isn’t worth much. From retail and call centers to fast food and Fortune 500 Companies, it is important to maintain a proper image, because you never know when your name might be called into question.

 

Even if you do not actively guard against libel, you must always be ready to deal with it if the need arises. That can mean having a defamation lawyer on hand or hiring a reputable company to help protect your good name. No measure is too small to take when it comes to your name and your business.  It is a serious issue, and one that can set you back years if you do not take great care in your work.