Online reputation

Reputation matters: Defamation court claims increase by 22%

The latest figures published by the Ministry of Justice for 2019 reveal that defamation claims issued in the Royal Courts of Justice are continuing to rise significantly year on year. The figures show that litigation over defamatory statements has increased by 22% on the previous year and by as much as 107% on the year before that.

This upward trend underlines the tremendous importance of reputation.  The old adage ‘sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me’ no longer holds water in today’s world of permanent publications and first impressions. Whereas previously a libellous statement written in a newspaper article would eventually be forgotten about, nowadays articles and online posts are available online indefinitely, making it difficult to outgrow a besmirched reputation. A positive reputation is vital for business and professional success so it is unsurprising that so many are taking to the courts to defend their honour.

The increase in social media use is likely to play a part in this upsurge in defamation claims. In the arena of Facebook and Twitter, anyone can become an instant publisher to a wide audience at the click of a button, leading many to experience the anguish of online defamation.

For help protecting your reputation including seeking removal of malicious or false online posts please contact NetRights at enquiries@netrights.co.uk or telephone 0207 698 4427.

Increased risk of online harm

As people are spending more time at home at the moment this means that more time is also being spent online.

This has its advantages, from enabling us to keep up to date with essential news to online shopping and staying in regular contact with family and friends. Social media use is on the increase with people searching for other ways to keep themselves entertained.

However, there is a darker side to this increased online activity, with more people turning to vindictive or malicious social media posts such as:

Revenge porn

Revenge porn is where intimate photos or videos of someone are shared online without their permission.  Often the sharer is a disgruntled ex-partner.  The government’s Revenge Porn Helpline* has reported increased number of calls from victims of intimate image abuse during the lockdown period. It is believed that both the increase in social media use and the heightened emotions at this time are responsible, with revenge porn often originating from controlling or abusive relationships.

Trolling and harassment

It is an unfortunate reality that people can feel more disinhibited when they are online and may engage in unacceptable behaviour that they might not contemplate in person. It is also easier for people to let their emotions get the better of them and make a malicious post in the heat of the moment. Unfortunately, disgruntled people can turn to social media to target their victims and this can lead to repeated online insults, provocations or even threats.

False or malicious online posts

Some people decide to publicly air their personal grudges or grievances online or are even just motivated by boredom.  This can lead to false or malicious social media posts that attack the reputation of an individual or a company.

If you are on the receiving end of any of these activities, then we know that it can be deeply distressing as well as damaging to your reputation.

 

For help with any of the above issues, including seeking removal of online posts, please contact Laura Baglow at NetRights on 0207 698 4427.

 

*The government’s Revenge Porn Helpline number is 0345 6000459 and the Samaritans can be contacted at 116 123 or by email to jo@samaritans.org

Have nude photos of you or your teenager been posted online?

It can be devastating to discover that intimate pictures of you or your teenage son or daughter have been shared online. Unfortunately, not all relationships or friendships last the distance and not every ex-partner deals with a relationship breakup well. Sometimes people will publish or threaten to publish online intimate photographs or videos that they obtained during the relationship as a way of causing distress or embarrassment to their former partner. This unauthorised sharing of private sexual photos or videos is called “revenge porn” and is a behaviour that is on the increase, particularly amongst young adults. It can cause great upset, distress and embarrassment to its victims and their families.

Is your reputation being threatened?

Has someone threatened to post something about you online? Or has a journalist been in touch about an article they intend to publish about you? Unfortunately, sometimes a business competitor, an ex-employee, an ex-partner, someone you have met in your personal life or even a member of the public can post malicious or false posts about you online for all the world to see. If you are a public figure or a high profile company you may be more likely to be the subject of negative media interest.

New Media and Communications Court list reflects surge in internet defamation claims by Laura Baglow

On 1 October 2019, the Civil Procedure Rules will be amended to create a new formally designated specialist Media and Communications list in the Queen’s Bench Division. From this date onwards all High Court claims that include a claim for defamation, misuse of private information, data protection and/or harassment by publication must be issued in the new list. New procedural rules will also apply to media and communications cases, including a pre-action protocol. This development reflects the growing increase in media claims in the Courts, after the decline of past decades.

Have you been targeted by negative social media posts?

Did you know that your business reputation can be damaged by negative online posts and reviews, causing loss of customers and profits? Your personal reputation can also suffer. Contrary to popular belief you do not have to stand by and do nothing if you are the subject of false online posts.  In fact, there are many things that can be done to seek removal of the post/s and to restore damage to your reputation.