Social Media Posts and Defamation
It may be easier than you might think to get into legal trouble over defamatory social media posts and comments. People, now more than ever, are taking social media posts seriously, and a 2018 study found that more than half of all defamation proceedings between 2013 and 2017 involved digital publications online. The rise of social media has meant that individuals are being taken to Court, rather than the media outlets themselves.
So what constitutes a defamatory post? A defamatory post or comment is a statement that have the potential to damage a person's reputation and cause them reputation or economic harm. This can include comments, posts, photographs and even Google reviews.
You could get into trouble simply for sharing someone's post, even if you didn't write it. Individuals will be treated as a publisher when sharing a defamatory post, and may be liable for any defamation that flows from the publication. The same rule applies for liking a post on Facebook or commenting on the post, as this means that the post will shown on people's newsfeeds and thus cause more harm to the person being defamed. Only one person, other than the person being defamed, needs to read the post for it to constitute defamation.
Defamation is not something to be taken lightly, and could have serious legal consequences.
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