Defamation Attorneys

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What Is Defamation?

You turn on your computer and see that someone has posted an unflattering post about you. You think you might have a legal case, but before contacting a defamation attorney, want to know whether the post legally qualifies as defamation. Defamation is a false statement made about a person that harms that individual’s reputation. Defamation can be written or spoken. Not every statement that is harmful to your reputation rises to the level of defamation.

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How we can help:

Our Defamation Attorneys Are Experienced in Tackling Online Defamation

 

The defamation attorneys in KJK’s Reputation Management practice handle a large variety of online defamation cases. Here are some common examples of online defamation that we have seen variations of in our practice:

  • A Twitter user falsely Tweets that a person sexually assaulted them.
  • A TikTok user publishes an untrue and disparaging video about another individual, claiming that they committed a crime that they never committed.
  • A doctor receives five fake one-star reviews on their RateMDs page, claiming that this doctor committed malpractice when the doctor has no pending malpractice cases.
  • An anonymous Internet user publishes a post about a popular YouTube beauty blogger on Reddit, claiming that this blogger is an escort and makes her living engaging in prostitution.
  • A Facebook user falsely posts in a private group that a person is cheating on their spouse.
  • An Instagram influencer tells her followers on Instagram live to leave a one-star review on Google for a car dealership, falsely claiming that they engaged in fraudulent and unethical business practices. The dealership subsequently receives 50 negative reviews from people who have never utilized the business’s services.
  • A college student receives a naked photograph on his phone and posts the photo on the Internet. The photo gets scrapped (extracted and reposted) to various websites with the captions “cheater” and “slut.”

 

  • A Twitter user falsely Tweets that a person sexually assaulted them.
  • A TikTok user publishes an untrue and disparaging video about another individual, claiming that they committed a crime that they never committed.
  • A doctor receives five fake one-star-reviews on their RateMDs page, claiming that this doctor committed malpractice when this doctor has no pending malpractice cases.
  • An anonymous Internet user publishes a post about a popular YouTube beauty blogger on Reddit, claiming that this blogger is an escort and makes her living engaging in prostitution.
  • A Facebook user falsely posts in a private group that a person is cheating on their spouse.
  • An Instagram influencer tells her followers on Instagram live to leave a one-star reviews on Google for a car dealership, falsely claiming that they engaged in fraudulent and unethical business practices. The dealership subsequently receives 50 negative reviews from people who have never utilized the business’s services.
  • A college student receives a naked photograph on his phone and posts the photo on the Internet. The photo gets scrapped (extracted and reposted) to various websites with the captions “cheater” and “slut.”

 

What you should know:

What Constitutes “defamation”?

Certain categories of defamatory statements are so intrinsically harmful that damage is presumed. These statements are called Defamation per se. While defamation law varies from state to state, generally, statements falsely accusing a person of a crime, sexual misconduct, acting improperly in their profession or relating to sexual health constitute defamation per se. 

Important to know:

Generally, the Plaintiff in a defamation must prove the following elements to win a defamation suit:

  1. A false statement of fact was made
  2. The statement concerns the Plaintiff (either expressly or implied)
  3. The statement was communicated to a third party
  4. The defamer intended to harm the Plaintiff
  5. The Plaintiff’s reputation was damaged

Important to Know:

Strategies for Removing Online Internet Content

There are many different strategies to remove defamatory Internet content. The best strategy for content removal will depend on the unique facts of your case. While a court order can help remove Internet content, there are many other ways that content can be removed. The following is a list of tactics that KJK commonly uses to remove or suppress negative Internet content:   

  • Ask the person who published the content to remove it. This can include sending a quick message, an editorial request or a cease-and-desist letter.
  • Request that the website remove the content as a violation of a Community Guideline. Websites have a variety of Community Guidelines that they expect their users to follow. Negative content that violates a website’s Community Guidelines will be removed at the site’s discretion
  • Send a DMCA request to remove copyrighted content. While this method can be extremely helpful in removing copyrighted content such as images, it will not remove accompanying text containing defamation.
  • Submit requests to remove the content from Google. For example, Google has a portal to remove non-consensual nude images from Google search results. This will not remove the content from the underlying site but may help decrease the reach of the content.

    1. Seek a Court Order by filing a defamation suit

    • Ask the person who published the content to remove it. This can include sending a quick message, an editorial request or a cease-and-desist letter.
    • Request that the website remove the content as a violation of a Community Guideline. Websites have a variety of Community Guidelines that they expect their users to follow. Negative content that violates a website’s Community Guidelines will be removed at the site’s discretion
      • Send a DMCA request to remove copyrighted content. While this method can be extremely helpful in removing copyrighted content such as images, it will not remove accompanying text containing defamation.
      • Submit requests to remove the content from Google. For example, Google has a portal to remove non-consensual nude images from Google search results. This will not remove the content from the underlying site but may help decrease the reach of the content.
        1. Seek a Court Order by filing a defamation suit
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        Other Top Questions:

        Frequently Asked Questions about Online Defamation

        When Is a Lawsuit Warranted? 

        Sometimes, the only way to get content down is by filing a lawsuit to attain a court order compelling a person or site to remove content. Additionally, filing a lawsuit may be your only option if you are being defamed by an anonymous person. If the person defaming you is hiding behind a pseudonym, you may not be able to ascertain their identity without the subpoena power of the court.

        What Are Common Defenses to Defamation?

        There are three common defenses to claims of defamation:

        1. The statement is true or substantially true
        2. The statement is opinion
        3. The statement is privileged (for example, statements made in the context of court proceedings are protected from defamation suits)
        Where Does Online Defamation Occur?

        Online defamation commonly occurs on the following platforms:

        1. Search Engines (Google, Bing, etc.)
        2. Social Media Sites (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, TikTok)
        3. Forum Sites and Online Message Boards (Reddit, Lipstick Alley)
        4. Blogs and Vlogs (Youtube, WordPress)
        5. News Outlets
        6. Shaming Sites (TheDirty.com, TagYourSponsor.com)
        7. Review Platforms (Google, Yelp, RateMDs, Ratemyprofessor)
        Why Do I Need an Attorney if I Am Being Defamed?

        An attorney can seek a court order to have content removed. While you can hire a suppression expert to push down negative content, this is often costly and is only a temporary fix. Typically, the suppressed negative content will pop back up in the top of your search results after you stop working with the suppression specialist. Our results have a lasting impact.