These days, anyone can post a negative comment online, about anyone. Often, this is done in retaliation to a perceived wrong or derogatory statement. People will often post negative reviews or comments about a business owner or business, after a negative experience that hasn’t been resolves satisfactorily. Sometimes, negative statements or comments have far reaching effects, far beyond the effects of perceived wrongs. An individual or business may lose sales or clients, due to comments existing clients or potential clients have read.
Intentional defamation of character is usually not the way to resolve a complaint or problem with an individual or business, as other innocent parties can be hurt in the process. Defamation removal is a legal process for having negative comments removed from the place or forum in which they appear. The process is often more difficult than people realize, due to factors protecting user identity, particularly on the internet.
Some forums have strict rules about the types of comments users can make. Those forums tend to have active moderators, who monitor user activity frequently. But, most forums don’t monitor discussions or comments closely. They tend to defend the users’ entitlement of free speech.
To determine if harm has been caused by an untrue statement, an investigation must be conducted into the legitimacy of the statement. An untrue statement is different from an opinion or interpretation. The Supreme Court only offers protection for statements related to public concerns, are expressed in a way that makes it hard to determine whether it’s right or wrong, or absolutely can’t be interpreted as a true statement (as in a political or social cartoon). In other words, if the statement could be viewed as being true and has successfully damaged an individual emotionally, financially, or physically, it can be viewed as a defamatory statement.
The next step is to find out who made the statement, if the user has done so anonymously. This can be challenging, as internet service providers can be reluctant to provide IP addresses and related names. A skilled and experienced attorney familiar with defamation cases can often get a court order, requiring the service provider to provide user information.
When the user making the damaging statement is identified, an attorney can take one of several actions:
– obtain a court order to remove the damaging website or URL from a search engine, like Google.
-obtain a temporary restraining order against the person who made the statement
-obtain a permanent injunction to have the statement removed.
-negotiate with the party to have him or her remove the statement voluntarily.
-help clients get statements removed from information and content sites, like Wikipedia.
If a defamatory statement is made and is hurting the targeted individual or business, action must be taken right away. The statute of limitations for such cases is short. Sometimes the person or business who is the target of the statement can contact the webmaster of the site, explain the situation, and ask for it to be removed. If the site refuses, it’s time to take action, by contacting an experienced defamation removal lawyer. a lawyer with experience handling such cases will know which steps to take and will act quickly, to have damaging statements removed. often, damaging statements can be removed within a short time, to prevent further damage of the company’s or individual’s reputation.