Understanding Internet Defamation & How You Can Protect Your Business Against It

Internet defamation can happen in various digital forms, such as a blog article, a social media comment or post, or an online news report. It can hurt your company’s revenue or reputation among your customers and other stakeholders. If an individual or organization has defamed you online, you’ll want to move quickly to control damage and preserve your image.

Here’s a look at internet defamation and how you can protect your business against it.

What Is Considered as  Internet Defamation?

An individual commits internet defamation if they publish a false and damaging statement to an online platform or website, such as:

  • Social media account
  • Product review site
  • Consumer activism online forum
  • A personal blog

It’s online defamation if:

  • The publisher knew the potentially damaging statement to be false, and
  • The victim suffered harm as a result

How Do You Deal with Internet Defamation?

You should act quickly to seek redress and control damage after suffering internet defamation. The first step is to gather and preserve evidence. You’ll need to document the offense the right way to prove to any court of law that the false statement is not fabricated. Here are some of the key components of online defamation evidence:

  • The false statement as-is
  • The URL of the page where the content was published
  • The website or platform where the statement was posted
  • Search engine results leading to the content’s location
  • Any user account from which the defamatory statement was published
  • Your online business rating with the negative review if relevant

Preserving Defamation Evidence

You can capture online defamation proof on a web page by following these steps:

  • Take a screenshot of the content using the Snip & Sketch app (MS Windows) or Control + 4 (macOS)
  • While you’re on the page with the false statement in Google Chrome, press Ctrl + P. Under Destination, choose Save as PDF to save the entire page.
  • Take mobile screenshots if the two options are unavailable.

To preserve the date and time of capture along with the evidence, it’s important that you use the “Save as PDF” option. Screenshots can work, but their meta-data can be altered afterward, weakening your evidence.

What Next After Preserving the Evidence

After you’ve gathered evidence for internet defamation, you can seek redress in court. It’s illegal to defame anyone, so you can sue the offender for libel in most courts’ jurisdictions around the world. However, most of these cases are complex. As such, you’ll want to retain an attorney to help with your libel lawsuit.

Successful litigation can result in you being awarded monetary damages. In your lawsuit, you can also ask the court to issue an injunction ordering the offender to take down the offending content and refrain from defaming your company in the future. If the publisher doesn’t comply, they can be fined or jailed for contempt of court.

In certain cases, you might prefer to engage a reputation management service provider. Such a company may threaten legal action against the offender, prompting them to take down the defamatory statement before your brand suffers serious harm. However, the main objective of hiring a reputation management firm is to prevent negative content about your company from coming up in search engine results.

One of the strategies employed by the reputation management firm involves publishing a lot of positive content about your business to promote its Search Engine Results Page (SERP) ranking. As a result, the defamatory content and any associated negative sentiment will have low or no search engine visibility. This approach to protecting your business against internet defamation is usually cheaper than litigation.

These are some of the strategies to protect your company against online libel. If you’re looking to protect your business with the right insurance policies, contact the experts at Pittman Insurance Group, LLC today. We are eager to answer any questions you might have about commercial coverage.

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