The Role Social Media in Online Defamation and Ways to Avoid Being Defamed
We are living in a world where communicating long distance and sharing information is a matter of just a few clicks. The internet has ushered us into a world of cyberspace where there are no secrets and personal space is non-existent.
In this world, a person lives through a persona that may be genuine or simply a work of fiction. This has facilitated the unsavory people to humiliate any person or entity and tarnish the targeted person’s reputation from the comforts of their home and without disclosing their identities.
Social networking sites
The advent of social networking sites has made the world a small place and provided the masses a means to connect with each other and express their views. Any kind of view or information posted on a social networking site such as Twitter is instantly available to all people connected to the person who is posting.
Online defamation constitutes an unprivileged false statement that’s published online, which tends to harm the reputation of an individual or company. If the statement is in written form that is posted on a website, blog, etc. then it’s known as libel and if the content is posted as a video or an audio then it’s known as slander.
Social networking sites as a source of defamation
The rise and popularity of social networking sites have given an opportunity to some of the people to lash out or discredit or post derogatory content against someone they want to hurt. This can be done by many a people unwittingly by sharing the same information.
The people that post these content online feel invincible and they believe there will never be any repercussion for their actions. The primary reason for this kind of thinking is the use of pseudonyms or writing anonymously. As per the figures given by Facebook in 2012, one of the top social networking site, they had more than 80 million accounts that could have been faked accounts.
How to avoid being a party of defamation
Any person who tweets, blogs, tags or posts content online can become a party of online defamation of character either wittingly or unwittingly. People share the content that has been shared with them without verifying whether it’s true or not and if any such content turns out to be a ground for a defamation lawsuit then all people who have shared the content, in turn, becomes a defendant. A plaintiff or the defamed person is entitled to prosecute everyone who has willingly or in ignorance shared the slanderous content.
You can avoid being a defendant by considering the following
- You should know and understand the meaning of online defamation, libel and slander.
- If you are expressing your opinion, do mention that it’s your opinion otherwise stick to facts.
- Avoid name calling.
- While writing facts please avoid concluding on your own. Let the readers conclude on the basis of facts mentioned by you.
- Avoid sharing potential defamation material.
Social networking sites were started with the intention of providing a platform for people to connect with each other. If you can religiously follow the above maxim of befriending the person you meet online and avoid sharing slanderous content then you will remain safe from any charges of online defamation.