Defamation – use social media very carefully!

Like many of you, MTB are regular users of all types of social media. Social media is a fun pastime for most of us but have you ever seriously thought about the contents of your tweet or your facebook post before you have posted it online? For many of us we tweet or post as a reaction to something that has just happened and sometimes the emotions which you are feeling at that time can lead to a post which may get you in trouble!

Many do not understand the difference between the two types of defamation – libel and slander. Put simply libel is a written defamatory statement and slander is a spoken or oral defamatory statement.

The standard of proof for defamation is twofold:

  • You must prove that the statement made was false; and
  • You must prove that the statement made caused harm to your reputation.

 

You may have noticed recently that Katie Hopkins was sued for libel after a twitter spat with writer and food blogger Jack Monroe. Mrs Monroe’s lawyers argued that Mrs Hopkins’ tweet insinuated that Mrs Monroe condoned vandalism on a war memorial and that this caused damage to her reputation. Whilst it is more likely for ‘famous’ people to be sued for defamation given the number of followers they have which, in turn, increases the numbers who will view their tweet or post, it is something we all must be wary of. If you think that libel has been committed against you, or you have been accused of libel, please contact our defamation lawyers immediately.

Our advice is to enjoy social media but to take extra care about what you post online, especially about other people. A compulsive action in the heat of the moment could expose you to a potential libel action.