Charlotte, NC Personal Injury Lawyer
Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram…the list of popular online social media sites goes on and on. Millions of people around the world are posting and tweeting their every move every day. These sites are an incredible way to make our world smaller and allow us to understand one another like never before
But, just like the Internet generally, social media sites create drama and trouble. To some people’s dismay, social media sites allow for “comments” – or free and open speech and discussion about a topic, blog or picture posted by another. Everyone has an opinion on everything and these sites allow that opinion to be shared with millions in just seconds.
What about when these “comments” become personal, accusatory, mean or downright false? Can someone be held liable in South Carolina, or anywhere for that matter, for defamation of someone’s character online?
Defamation in South Carolina
The Supreme Court of South Carolina defined defamation as spoken, written or otherwise communicated statement about another person that has had a natural tendency to harm that person’s reputation. Spoken defamation is known as slander and written defamation, or the type you would find online, is called libel.
In order to establish a case for defamation in South Carolina, a plaintiff must establish the following:
(1) A false or defamatory statement was made by the defendant;
(2) That the statement was unprivileged and published (or communicated) to a third party;
(3) Fault of the defendant for communicating the statement; and
(4) Damages of a special sort of harm to the plaintiff’s reputation.
What Does and Does Not Constitute Defamation Online?
A statement of fact made online is not defamation. Truth of the statement is an absolute defense to a defamation claim. A plaintiff’s case will be dismissed if the statement communicated is found to be true.
An opinion posted online is not a statement of fact and therefore not defamation. However, most courts will hold that if a reasonable person would deem the opinion as a statement of fact, the opinion will be considered a statement of fact, in which case, if false, it would be defamation.
Altering a photo or video posted online is defamation. If someone edits a picture to make another appear in a way that may damage his or her reputation, a defamation case is likely to succeed.
Who Should You Sue in a Defamation Case?
The proper named defendant in a case stemming from defamation online is the person who posted the libelous statement or photo. The proper named defendant is not Facebook or another website. The Unites States Congress passed the Communications Decency Act that protects websites like Instagram and Facebook from defamation suits.
Defamation online is a hot topic, and as long as people have access to the Internet, cases involving libel online show no signs of slowing down. Our personal injury attorneys at Bice Law, LLC are available to you if you have been the victim of online defamation. Please contact our offices today to speak with one of our skilled attorneys about your case.
Contact the Personal Injury Law Firm of Bice Law
The personal injury firm of Bice Law will examine your case to determine the type and amount of damages that your injury warrants, including payments for medical expenses, lost income, pain and suffering, and any permanent disability. We’ll determine whether an out-of-court settlement or trial is the best strategy to obtain maximum benefits for you or your family. If you have suffered injury or harm because of someone else’s actions, take the first step to protect your legal rights – contact the personal injury firm of Bice Law serving both North and South Carolina. You only have a limited time after your injury to file a claim, so act quickly. Call 877-BICE-877 today or submit an online request to get a free consultation with a personal injury attorney. We serve families across both North Carolina and South Carolina.