Social media defamation – How posting can cost you!
Recently, a Sydney couple were ordered by the District Court to pay their neighbour’s $15,000 legal bill after he sued the couple for defamation following comments they made on Facebook about him and his dogs.
Mr Mohareb sued his neighbours, Mr and Mrs Palmer, after the Palmers posted a photo of a poster about Mr Mohareb on the Scotland Island community Facebook page, accompanied by their own comments.
The poster, which also had Mr Mohareb’s photo on it, made numerous allegations including that Mr Mohareb was a “highly volatile individual who was prone to manic outbursts.” Comments added by Mr Palmer included that he “may or may not be associated to Satan.” The Palmers denied creating and putting the poster up around Scotland Island but didn’t deny that they posted the image and the associated further comments.
After a tumultuous legal battle which included whether or not a proper apology was made to Mr Mohareb on the Scotland Island community Facebook page and many court appearances, the Palmers were ordered by the Judge to pay $15,000 in legal costs to Mr Mohareb.
Don’t get caught up in thinking that words online won’t cause as much damage as they would if said face-to-face. In fact, words said face-to-face usually only live in that moment but words said online can potentially be there forever (think: sharing, retweeting and screenshots) and can come back to haunt you time and time again.
If the person/company who has comments made about them can prove that the comments aren’t true and that a third party would judge their character based on the comments, then they may have a claim against you/your company.
If you have concerns about comments made on your social media profile or comments you or your company have made on social media, please contact our Digital Media & Technology team in Parramatta and Norwest.