The believe that we can say anything to anyone online and no one will do or say anything about it is very popular among us, the Internet users. This not only disappointing but prevalent altogether. Most of us would agree to saying things online that we would never dare to say to someone in person. Gone are the days when parents would scold and forbid their children for saying nasty things about others.
Internet defamation has taken its toll and has become more frequent than ever, thanks to technology. Having said that, many among us don’t know exactly what defamation account for. Here are some principles that you should follow not only to empower ourselves but also our family, friends and our colleagues.
Written? Or Spoken?
The traditional definition of defamation obviously did not contemplate modern technology. But efforts are being made to wrap these laws around modern communication. The ability the Internet has provided us with, to share our opinions and thoughts with others is just a click away. A common misbelieve is that only what is spoken or written face-to-face or in person accounts for defamation. But in fact the case is completely otherwise. Whatever is written or spoken even online subjects to defamation. But since it is so easy for use to write and express our thoughts on a universal medium about anyone we want and to whoever we like, things have blurred a little.
Intentions? Or Consequences?
This comes as no surprise We’ve all been in situation where what we intended turned out completely otherwise, not to mention mostly unpleasant. In terms of social media and the Internet, more often than not, it is the poor choice of words that gets people in trouble. No one wants to know what your initial intention was. All they know is what you wrote or posted. One simple statement and an instance of “poor choice of words” is more than enough to publicly damage someone’s reputation. Damaging someone’s reputation has never been easier, thanks to technology and the Internet.
Impossible is Nothing.. Or is it?
Let’s not deny that all of us have, even if only once, saved, screenshot or downloaded something that someone said, just in case it gets removed later on, (which it mostly does), for personal motives. This could be showing it to someone else, shaming the person who posted it or just for the sake of a debate over nothing. We have seen celebrities get shamed and insulted over things they sometimes say maybe about a competitor who happens to be your favorite. Even after they deleted the respective post, someone has saved the screenshot as evidence for future. Always remember, once you hit that post button, whatever you say or do will be held against you.
Content? Or Context?
Courts aren’t going to wave off a lawsuit against you only because you put a mandatory LOL at the end of your post, no. Social media looks at things a little differently and often changes the context of many things that are being said. You may think that using shorthands or acronyms or an LMAO or JK can keep you safe but that’s not the case. Even if you OWN a blog, you still don’t have the liberty of saying whatever you want just because its YOUR territory. Also you must keep in mind that you can’t just get away with everything by throwing in a disclaimer that whatever you say is your opinion and should not be taken too seriously. Let me assure you that you are in for a lot of trouble my friend.
Liabilities. Be very, very careful.
Whatever you post online and share with people and allow them to express their thought about and whatever people post online and share with you and give you the right to express your thoughts about significantly increases your liability. Sharing anything whether true or false, is as easy as a few clicks. If we are not careful, we may have been promoting false statements of facts which takes us to a whole new level of liability. As has been mentioned earlier too, old laws are not being enforced upon newer communications and technologies. Therefore, be careful. Be very, very careful.
When in Rome..
Cyber laws are being implemented in over a 100 countries across the globe. You must be thinking that you live in a country where cyber law enforcement is almost non existent so you don’t have to worry. Or that since you are a citizen of your country, no major action will be taken against you. Courts in another country may not be able to sue you for a serious lawsuit but that certainly doesn’t mean they won’t try.