Social Media and the advent of the Internet provide a new medium for people to meet and connect with one another, in both privately restricted and completely public forums. While this new, wide-reaching exchange of ideas has undoubtedly enhanced our lives, it also provides the perfect breeding grounds for libel and defamatory statements. The Internet gives a unique opportunity to share thoughts and opinions in a seemingly anonymous way—there are many opportunities to post opinions under the supposed veil of anonymity. Popular forums and informational sites allow users to create “user profiles” for online interactions, which can facially mask their true identities.
Additionally, some Social Media websites are typically tied to a real person’s identity, and millions of people use these websites to connect with friends, family, and even meet new people. We all have unfavorable opinions we’d like to share, whether that of people, services, businesses, or products. Well, isn’t it OK to post a negative opinion? Of course, so long as it is purely an opinion or states a true fact. We can run into legal problems, though, if we post untrue statements of fact. Even if presented as an opinion, untrue or incorrect statements can get us into serious trouble if the subject chooses legal action. Defamation defense attorneys are knowledgeable in this niche area of law, and can help if you’ve been accused of Internet defamation. San Diego follows the state defamation laws that apply to all of California, and they vary from defamation laws applied in other states.
Internet defamation, libel, and slander laws are applicable to content posted online, and given the assumed permanence of online content, it can be easy for victims of defamation to gather evidence to support their claim. Considering how easy and accessible it is to post content on a website or social media channel, there are certainly some emotional statements made online that could negatively impact someone’s quality of life or reputation. However, the best defense to Internet libel or slander is that your statement was either a true statement of fact or an opinion. The Free Speech Clause of the First Amendment guarantees that opinions are not considered defamatory, but the courts draw a fine line between fact and opinion. If you’ve been accused of Internet defamation, it’s important to consult with an experienced Internet defamation defense attorney in San Diego to review your options. Contact The Law Office of Ryan T. Darby today for a consultation on your legal situation.