Defamation & Online Reputation Management
Are you a victim of unfair defamatory content? Has it been HAUNTING you and affecting your personal online reputation?
In the modern world where digital devices and technology rule, your online reputation could be having a far greater impact than you realise. As an individual, you may be judged on your online reputation by your friends, family, potential employers and possible partners.
Any negative online press could result in embarrassment, shame, difficulties finding employment and much more. As a small business, defamatory content or remarks against you or your business could be deterring potential clients and hindering revenue streams.
At Internet Removals, we are experts in Online Reputation Management in Australia. We are frequently engaged by individuals and small to medium enterprises as well as large corporations on behalf of their executives, to review defamatory online content and reviews. Internet Removals is committed to assisting these clients in understanding defamation and their rights, and helping to remove defamatory content from the internet or most often on Google.
What is Defamation?
Defamation is written or oral communication of a false statement about another person that causes unjust harm to the person’s reputation; this may amount to a crime or tort, and many clients who encounter defamatory situations pursue legal action. An example of defamation is when a person spreads false information about a public figure and this leads to the destruction of that person’s career.
How do you know if the content can be considered Defamatory & Eligible for online content removal?
In order to constitute defamation, the alleged material must convey imputations and such imputations must be defamatory. In many instances, a person engaging in defamatory conduct will not explicitly say what they mean and will instead insinuate a meaning.
The law allows for interpretation of a publication and calls it an ‘imputation’. An imputation does not immediately become defamatory, instead the imputation needs to be serious enough that it would have the likely effect of causing the ordinary reasonable person to think less of the person who has been allegedly defamed.
Defamatory remarks can significantly affect a person’s reputation and cause substantial challenges in everyday life if the defamatory content remains published.
At Internet Removals, we, content removal expert in Australia, assist individuals, small business owners and large corporations on behalf of their executives to identify defamatory content and take action (which would involve in content removals or to manage client’s online reputation), so that our clients can continue with their lives without the impact of false defamatory claims.
Whilst it can often be relatively simple for a client to prove they have been defamed, there exist several defences that the law allows defendants to rely on. These include:
- Truth – if the defendant can prove that the defamatory statements were substantially true, this may be a defence to defamation;
- Honest opinion – the defendant may be able to claim and prove that the matter was simply an expression of opinion based on proper material and a matter of public interest; and
- Qualified privilege – this defence applies where the defendant can prove that the recipient of the information has an interest or apparent interest in having this information, that the material was published to the recipient when giving them the information and that such conduct is reasonable.
Case Studies of Defamation
A good way to review defamation is to look at some case studies. The following people have been highlighted in the media as a result of defamation actions.
A high profile actor who recently made media headlines due to his libel case brought over a newspaper article which called him a “wife-beater”. Johnny Depp argued that the claim amounted to defamation as it was false and destructive to his reputation. London’s High Court recently handed down their judgement and dismissed Johnny Depp’s claims, as it was truthful that Johnny Depp had been violent toward his ex-wife during the couple’s relationship, and therefore the allegation was not false and did not amount to defamation.
Thomas* (pseudonym used)
Thomas approached Internet Removals with concerns about multiple negative reviews that were appearing rapidly on his business page under Google Map Reviews. Thomas has eight employees and engaged Internet Removals to assess the reviews for defamation and assist with content removal. With the help of Internet Removals, Thomas was able to prove that the reviews were false, and were likely written by a local competitor who was trying to deter business from Thomas’ brand. Internet Removals was able to assist Thomas by working with third parties such as Google, and successfully removed the defamatory content, allowing him to continue growing his business.
Dr Janice Duffy
Dr Duffy is a former South Australian health department researcher who successfully sued Google for defamation. Dr Duffy was able to successfully prove that articles published about her on ‘Ripoff Report’ defamed her, and that Google had denied requests to remove the content from the Google search engine. As a result of the civil lawsuit, Dr Duffy was awarded $100,000 plus interest. This is an example of how a defamatory post may turn into a legal situation, particularly if the content is proved defamatory and a third party such as Google refuses to act.
Debra* (pseudonym used)
Debra contacted Internet Removals in a highly emotional state after she was targeted by online bullies on social media. The online bullies had created fake profiles on Instagram and Tinder, proposing that Debra was offering sexual services. Additionally, Debra was subjected to multiple false allegations and postings across various platforms that significantly affected her online reputation and caused concerns in her workplace when her employer was notified. Internet Removals was able to achieve a rapid result by working with Google and social media platforms to support Debra’s rights and remove the defamatory content. We also provided Debra with support and copies of our communication with the third parties for her use in engaging police to investigate.
Now you can protect yourself with reputation management services
If you think you have been a victim of defamation, and you are an individual or a business owner, you can contact us at Internet Removals to discuss your concerns. This may relate to social media posts, online articles, Product Review, Ripoff Report and Google business reviews, as well as many others.
We may be able to assist you with:
- Identifying defamatory content on a variety of online platforms;
- Removal of online defamatory content;
- Online Reputation Management.
We can be contacted by either phoning 1300 039 196 or via our Contact Form.
Disclaimer: There is no obligation in contacting Internet Removals for advice relating to online defamatory content and our services with removal. Internet Removals is not providing any legal advice. If legal advice is recommended or required, Internet Removals can refer you to IRG Law Pty Ltd. You should not rely upon the contents of this newsletter for any litigation, decision to litigate or decision to publish material online.
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