Have you ever shared a post on Facebook without fact-checking your sources first? Perhaps you were quick to share information on a celebrity’s “pregnancy” from an obscure website you’ve never heard of before, or perhaps you shared your friend’s post stating that their wedding photographer was a scam, when in reality your friend didn’t read the terms of their contract before agreeing to them. Have you ever stopped to consider that these posts, even when posted and shared with good intentions, can lead to negative consequences?
There is a certain level of responsibility that comes with the freedom of information found on the Internet. Posts, reviews, and the sharing of articles can all have negative repercussions. You can protect yourself, or your business, by fact checking that the information you’re sharing is coming from a reputable source, that you are being factual when writing a post or a review, and knowing your legal rights when it comes to libel and false information online.
So what happens when someone shares a defamatory post about your company? Can you sue them for libel? The answer is maybe. The Consumer Review Freedom Act, passed on January 4, 2017, protects individuals who post factual reviews about a service or business. If there is no evidence supporting that the review is factual, your company then has the right to sue for defamation and libel.
What if you’re an individual and you find false information posted about yourself circulating around Facebook? Perhaps you’re a high school football coach and you’re being accused of taking money that belongs to the team. A parent posts this information on Facebook, but it is nothing more than a rumor. Do you have the right to sue for libel? You do, as long as the information that was posted was indeed false and posted as a fact rather than an opinion.
The investigators at Bosco Legal are experts in social media and cyber investigations and are not lawyers. If you think you have a case or need legal advice, contact an attorney. If you need to properly preserve any online content or find out who is behind certain posts, click here.