What is defamation? The taking from one’s reputation of good character. The offenses of injuring a person’s character, fame, or reputation, and published by false and malicious statements.
Do my rights online have the same constitutional protections? Yes, you can be sued for defamation for what you post on the internet. The US Supreme Court has said that “in the context of defamation law, the rights of the institutional media are no greater and no less than those enjoyed by other individuals and organizations engaged in the same activities.” The problem has been intensified by the advancement of the Internet as a reporting and social networking tool. While comments in newspapers and television and disappear overtime, reputational damages from blogs, social media outlets, and a various web engagement postings can remain in tack for years and even multiple through internet search engine web cache.
When are my rights protected? Many examples come from negative feedback left by parties to transactions on internet auction sites, referral sites, chat rooms, public comments to the media on websites, blogs, forums, social media (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn), business review websites, etc. Although the Communications Decency Act gives immunity to internet service providers for comments posted by their users that extend immunity to web sites that permit user comments, this does not protect the person leaving the offending comment. Many companies try and gain a tactical advantage by disparaging their competitor online through anonymous accounts by spreading rumors or bashing their competitors. These posting advocate illegal conduct and run afoul to the law. There have been cases where a company successfully sued a competitor for posting negative comments about the company or its products on the internet.