Can you sue a defamatory post?
Bottom line YES. However, in order to increase your chances of successfully sue for defamatory content from a social network, each case must be individually analyzed.
Bear in mind that not all offensive posts are actionable.
First, defamation is usually divided into two categories; libel and slander:
a. Libel is actually the correct term for any harmful and defamatory content posted on Facebook, as it involves a false written statement damaging a person’s reputation and published to a third party.
b. Slander, on the other hand, is a false spoken statement damaging a person’s reputation and made to a third party.
Second, to prove defamation of character, the victim has to prove the following:
1. That the person made a FALSE STATEMENT that was published mainly publicly. (That means to show that someone saw the comment)
2. INJURY. It means that the statement must be damaging to the individual, including to his or her reputation. This may require that the victim shows how he or she was damaged from the statement, such as being ostracized from a social group or losing business. (i.e. statements that a person is professionally incompetent, a “con artist” etc)
Third. However, there is possible defense to a defamation lawsuit. Subsequently, it is NOT defamatory for example:
1. To express a negative opinion or feedback about a person or business. Provided obviously that it is respectful and not insulting.
2. To repeat a truthful statement about someone, even if the statement may damage that person’s reputation.
Fourth, depending on the seriousness of the libel, it would be possible to claim a financial compensation as well.
Nevertheless, there can be mitigating circumstances if the person publicly apologizes and quickly removes the post or tweet.
Finally, what would be the recommended course of action?
If the statement is definitely libelous, – before taking the matter to Court, – we would recommend sending a strong letter before claim. The letter would give the opportunity to discontinue the illegal conduct by demanding:
1. For the immediate cease of the unlawful defamation, providing us with prompt written assurance of this cease within ten (10) days.
2. For a public apology to the victim
3. Furthermore, in case of noncompliance, the client would be entitled to seek in Court monetary damages, an equitable relief for the defamation. Plus, court costs and Lawyer’s fees.
We hope you find this information useful. Thank you very much for your attention. Should you be affected by this or any other legal matter, please kindly contact us. Our website is www.bestsolicitorsinspain.com
We look forward to helping you and the benefit of our “know-how”.
Mr Oscar Ricor
“NON-PRACTISING ENGLISH SOLICITOR IN ENGLAND AND WALES”, under the “Solicitors Regulation Authority” (SRA) SRA number 519196 and practicing Spanish Solicitor.