As the Internet becomes more intertwined with our daily lives, online reputation management is becoming ever more important. An injurious “Web rep” often leads to business loss and complicates employment search for those who have been unfairly maligned online.
While it may be difficult to remember a time when the Internet didn’t exist, the truth is that the Information Superhighway is still a relatively young phenomenon. As such, federal communication and defamation laws are still playing catch-up with technology. In many ways, the Internet is a lot like the Wild West—in as much as laws are in the process of being worked out and justice is sometimes long in coming.
If you’ve been unfairly defamed online, there are several legal options at your disposal. Luckily, a few options don’t involve costly, long lawsuits, but are just as effective.
If there’s one thing we’ve all learned about the Internet: don’t believe everything you read. While undoubtedly upsetting, try to be objective and asses how much damage the offending statement is actually causing. Is it an outrageous claim that a reasonable person would not believe?
Sometimes, it’s better to ignore the obvious trolls. Other times, a simple reply comment will do the trick. If a potential client sees a calm, rational explanation from a business owner being attacked, they may just side with you.
Bury the Bad Press
How do 99% of people find information online? They head to their favorite search engine. If the first 10 pages of search results are filled with glowing reviews, chances are slim anybody would even find the defamatory material in question. Through the use of high-level SEO techniques and a little legal wrangling, an experienced Internet attorney can quickly make your online defamation problem disappear.
In addition, lawyers can now help clients get court orders to remove libelous statements from search engine results.
Go After your Accuser with the Full Force of the Law
Let’s be honest, sometimes the damage done is so egregious and injurious that a lawsuit is the only option. Defamation law differentiates between public and private figures. While slander or libel is notoriously difficult to prove for public figures, it’s not impossible for private citizens.
To win an Internet defamation lawsuit, it’s important to have the following:
1) Evidence that clearly demonstrates the information posted online was, indeed, inaccurate.
2) Proof that the defamatory statements caused material loss or severe reputation ruin.
3) Evidence that points to the fact that the defaming party maliciously published the injurious material knowing it was false.
The methods you choose are up to you, but make sure injurious Internet defamation is cleared up. A bad online rep can lead to lost employment opportunities and business failure. It’s in your best interest to get it taken care of as soon as possible.