Libel and slander; you only have to worry if you’re rich and famous, right?
Any statement which can cause serious harm to a person’s reputation and (in the case of a business) cause serious financial loss can be defamatory. Twitter, Facebook and other forms of social media mean that defamatory comments can get out to a wide audience very quickly with just the click of a mouse.
Well, if you as a company use the Internet for sales or marketing purposes, then this can affect you. If someone believes you have made a statement which is defamatory they can sue you and bring an action for damages. In certain cases, they can even get an injunction against you to stop the spread of the statement and to prevent further damage.
So what can you do?
The following simple steps may help you to minimise the risk:
- If you allow employees to contribute to a company Facebook page or Twitter account, you must have a clear policy in place covering what you consider to be acceptable content and you must enforce this.
- Vet all contributions carefully before posting and/or make sure that only one or two trusted people in your company can post material.
- If in doubt do not post; make sure that all contributions are either accurate where they state facts, be genuinely held if they state opinions and also comply with all relevant laws.
Injunctions and proceedings can be costly so follow these steps to make sure no one tells you to ‘shad dap you face’.
For more information, email firstname.lastname@example.org.