Personal Injury Lawyer
When you think of a personal injury, the most common things that come to mind are someone being hurt in a car accident or perhaps getting injured in a slip-and-fall accident. However, personal injuries do not just cover physical injuries. They can cover injuries done to someone’s reputation. One of the most common places we see defamation now is through social media. With the ability to comment and critique through social media apps like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, it is becoming even easier for people to make defamatory statements quickly. When discussing defamation, there are two main types. These are:
- Slander—Verbal Defamation
- Libel—Written Defamation
When someone posts a comment on a YouTube video intended to hurt someone else’s reputation, this is libel. Below, you can read more about the legal issues surrounding online defamation.
What’s Wrong With Defamation?
Everyone can have their own opinions and many places encourage these opinions. However, this can become a problem when someone quickly and anonymously makes comments on your post or video. There are many places for a person to leave defamatory content, whether they intended to do so or not. Some of these are:
- A person’s personal blog
- Social media websites like Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn
- YouTube comments
- A letter to the editor for a local newspaper
- Chatrooms, threads, and forums
Many websites know that people are likely to comment inflammatory and grossly inappropriate content, so they have screening methods in place to get rid of both the comments and the users. However, some comments can easily slip through the cracks.
Are There Laws Against Libel? Is it Possible To Sue?
Although it is possible to sue, this issue can get complicated quickly. It not only depends on the state that you reside in, but it also depends on the state where the defamer is. Because of how complex this is, having an attorney on your side can be valuable to your case and help you determine the best course of action to take.
While you may think it might be more simple to sue the ISP (internet service provider) of the site that has the defamatory content, there is actually a federal law called the Communications Decency Act which protects ISPs and other website hosts from being sued in almost all defamation claims.
How Do I Know If It Is Defamation?
Defining what is an is not defamation can be tricky. For example, a statement of opinion is not a statement of fact. Thus, a person who states their opinion is legally protected from a libel suit. However, this gets even more complex if people can view your statement of opinion as a statement of fact. If someone comments on your YouTube page that people should not follow you because you kill small animals in your free time (but you indeed do not do this), it is clearly defamation.
Getting Help When You Have Been Defamed
If you need legal help after someone has defamed you, a personal injury lawyer Bloomington, IL trusts can work with you to protect your reputation and determine the best next steps.
Thank you to our friends and contributors at Pioletti & Pioletti for their insight into personal injury claims and online defamation.