Jessica’s friend called her at work to say she’d seen a comment posted on a local news site. An “anonymous” person posted the comment, but the circumstances sounded enough like her, that her friend called to cue her in. The commenter accused Jessica of cheating on her ex husband.
Jessica doesn’t know who posted this comment! All she knows is that this “anonymous” comment, and the comments that followed this thread, were damaging the good reputation she’s worked hard for. As Jessica says, these comments are Lies and False Accusations! Does she intend to sue the commenter for defamation? Is there a way for her to find out who the “anonymous” commenter was??
Online Defamation. Can Anonymous Commenters Be Found Out? LISTEN to these topics and Jessica’s story on “The Joan Jerkovich Show,” this Saturday from 6-7am; or Sunday from 9-10pm. Listen to 1150 KSAL as “Your Life Coach” brings you “Empowering Talk Radio!”
If you’re one of those “trolls” who likes to “anonymously” post your mean comments, read this…
Before you hit the enter button to post a comment on your favorite blog, social media, or online site, be forewarned that if your comment can be proven in a court of law to contain a libelous statement about an individual or business, you can be sued for damages. As the Internet has become an increasingly popular reporting and social media tool, libelous claims have risen.
The offended party, that you posted a nasty comment about, can have a case against you if these 2 criteria apply:
1. If your post can be proven false.
2. If it can be proven that you posted your comment with the intention of harming their reputation.
The defense tool you hold is the truth. If what you are posting about someone else is the absolute truth, and can be proven to be so, your post, no matter how damaging to a person or businesses’ reputation, is not libel.
Keep in mind, however, that defending your comment as truth can be difficult and expensive and in any legal claim, your position of “truth” is not assured.
So what happens if you are posting “anonymously”? If you don’t know it by now, you are not as anonymous as you might think. Your identity can be traced. Numerous court cases have forced Internet Service Providers (ISP’s) to provide information and the IP address of known offenders.
So, before you post that comment, listen to my radio show this weekend for answers to the following questions:
• Do you have to use a persons name to be sued?
• Can you also be sued if you just agreed with the libelous comment?
• What is the statute of limitations for online defamation?
• Can the ISP and host website also be sued for libel?
Click HERE to anonymously send Joan your question!
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