The harm to reputation and character that follows as a consequence of online defamation is real. Even an unauthentic customer review by a competitor could instantly alter the reputation of a small business. A false accusation on a social platform could destroy a reputation, relationships and partnerships.
When you spot the potential of an online defamation attack on your business or personally, you might be confused about what you should do. Below you can find general tips on how to approach a critical situation like this.
Defamatory statements must be dealt with as soon as possible. With a swift reaction, you can put out the fire before it spreads. A person’s reputation can be irreparably destroyed if mitigation steps are not taken.
Defamation and internet slander will spread quickly in the online medium, and are likely to stay on the internet for a long time. Don’t fall into the trap believing that the mention will simply fade away. If you act promptly it may be possible to limit the distribution of the defamatory statements.
Identify the Parties
When it comes to online defamation it will generally involve several parties that play a role in the dissemination of the libelous speech. Beside the author, there is the service provider that hosts the online space that contains the defamatory statement. Search engines and social networks are also often mixed in as the information inevitably appears on their websites or platforms. Identifying the correct parties is vital in addressing the issue.
Determine the Scope
The next step involves understanding the scope of the defamation. How wide is the reach of the defamation? Is it something available to a few people via a private email, or is it the issue spread to thousands?
With a few searches on search engines can usually give an indication how far the defamation has spread. Use the exact defamatory words to find whether different sites already host the information.
You can also try to gauge the perception of the audience. Have the rumors taken hold? Are people talking about it? Are people taking the defamatory allegations seriously or are they ignoring it?
Understanding the scope of the defamation is essential to decide on how to deal with it.
Keep the Evidence
Proving that you have been affected by a defamatory statement is critical. Unfortunately this is often overlooked. Even if the defamation is removed you may still be entitled to pursue compensation for reputation damages.
Ideally, an independent person or agency captures the evidence. Consider taking screenshots and printing all related postings, search engine results, and any other pages that could be relevant. In addition to that, also preserve evidence that confirms the identity of the author.
Dealing with defamation can be a drawn out process and can become overwhelming. In such cases, there are professional experts and agencies that can help you navigate the process and get the desired results.