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Everything You Need to Know About Defamation Online

Nowadays, social media has a vast range of fields. It’s a place where even one can make a living or build their own business and use any platform for their marketing.

You can learn so many things since every professional has a site where you can get factual information from. Like doctors, writers, reporters, scientists, entrepreneurs, and so on. More relevantly, social media is a huge place on the internet where there are countless people’s opinions. Freedom of expression, if you will.

This is where you can maintain ongoing relationships and even discover new ones. Building a community and connecting with people who can relate to you and your personality. They can make you feel less alone in life. However, social media can also be a toxic place despite its advantages. Because of so much freedom, where is the line? When does a social media post become a liability?

Everything is fine unless you created a destructive move on someone, and they decided to sue you for it if they’re not in the wrong.

What are the wrongdoings that you need to be careful of online?

In civil law, there is this kind of case called tort acts, also known as tortious acts. This is an unlawful violation wherein damage is acted against a person, property, reputation, or situation in which the harmed is entitled to benefit. While damage to property can lead to trust or real estate litigation, violations committed online can also have serious consequences.

Some most familiar cases under tortious acts are personal injury, negligence, fraud, and defamation.

Defamation happens when a piece of information that was said to be true is factually false and ruins the reputation of the defamed. When discussing a private personal diary or journal, it’s not considered defamatory because the information in there is no communication among two or more persons. But if the false information is expressed orally with other people, that’s when it becomes defamatory.

Now under defamation, there are two specific cases. There is slander—a spoken defamatory, and libel—a written defamatory, which is mostly applied in the world of social media these days.

While defamation isn’t a criminal act, rather, it is still civil wrong, which makes it illegal.

What makes a post defamatory?

If a defamatory post has the potential of ruining someone or an organization’s reputation, it is labeled defamatory.

You can be accused of this wrongful civil act if you’ve written a post that’s damaging to the defamed. If you shared the post, you’ll also be contributing to causing the defamation. Even when commenting on a post and just liking it, you can still be in trouble. This way, you’ve still spread the information about the defamed across your friends’ or follower’s newsfeed or timeline.

If the post is already deleted, it can still be reliable if securely saved.

What about videos on social media?

A defamatory video is considered both slander and libel. This occurs if you have encountered a livestream or recorded video that contains false content that harms the reputation of someone or something.

This is included under the definition of communication among two or more people. Thus, defamatory.

What if an anonymous committed the libel?

Although The Supreme Court is not against the freedom of speech, or even posting anonymously, many judges “have been saying that online speakers do not always have a right to remain anonymous.” This means there is a boundary where if you can stay anonymous to protect your privacy and civil security.

What is the difference between anonymity and privacy? When can you prioritize them?

Privacy is keeping a piece of information to yourself but still revealing some that you allow people to see or know. On the other hand, anonymity is when you want something said or done without letting people who you are.

When one practices the right to privacy, they can reveal their name, but they can hide their age and location. When someone chose to be anonymous, they can show their age or where they’re from, but the rest of their personal information is completely hidden.

These concepts are generally acceptable since all have the right to practice them. Such as in research or data collection in journalism. People can make the choice to stay unknown.

While both can be beneficial and important, once a civil violation has been committed, it is a different story. You have done an immoral and unlawful act towards somebody, so they have the right to defend themselves.

To end all this on a positive note, the simplest way to avoid civil cases is to just be nice to everyone.

In this lifetime, many have already suffered enough so it is our job to be careful of the things we post to avoid personally offending anyone. Since the world of social media can be irrational and easily offended, and if you’re unfortunate, they will have the courage and the power to take the issue to court.

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