The Importance of Your Words on Social Media

Do you, your spouse or children use social media? It’s a wonderful way to stay in contact with family and friends. However, there is a dark side to social media … and it involves what you post. The Internet has created a new class of publishers – ordinary, everyday people who are posting comments about each other and about businesses on public forums. As a result, more and more defamatory material is being published on social media, especially on Facebook and Twitter.

Any time you make a false statement about a business or individual on social media that damages their character or reputation, you could be sued for defamation.

A statement is defamatory if it is falsely stated as fact, harms the person’s reputation and is communicated to a third party, i.e., all your friends, relatives and business associates in social media.

There are two types of defamation: libel and slander. If you write an untrue statement about a business or individual, you’ve committed libel. If you post a video or are live-streaming on social media and speak lies about a business or individual, it is slander.

Getting sued for defamation is a growing legal specialty in the United States. In the past year, one law firm reported a 48 percent increase in defamation inquiries about material posted on social media.

Even if you believe that what you post on social media is harmless, you could still be sued by someone who is upset by what you wrote and posted. You may want to check your homeowners insurance policy to see if it includes Personal Injury protection which covers lawsuits stemming from libel, slander, and wrongful arrest. Policies from E. R. Munro and Company include this protection as part of our standard practice. Give us a call at 1-877-376-8676.