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Facing the consequences of using Facebook

We have recently seen a spate of matters involving the use of online posts on a public Facebook page to target individuals or corporations. Some seem to think that posts are private comments and not actionable – but nothing could be further from the truth. If a Facebook post is clearly a comment and nothing more, it may be defensible. But most of the posts we have seen are not comments, they are expressed as statements of fact.

Facebook Posts that mean or infer that the targeted person is, for example, dishonest, untrustworthy or incompetent are very dangerous.

In a recent case that came before the court, a woman posted of her former partner that he assaulted and abused her. The court had no trouble in finding that the imputations were defamatory and indefensible. In considering the damages to be awarded, the court had regard to the seriousness of the allegations, the extent of the publication and the mode of publication. The court noted that defamatory posts on social media spread rapidly and are viewable across the globe. The court required her to pay $12,500.00 in damages, plus interest and all costs. So, unless you are careful, it could be you who loses face through the use of Facebook.



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Liability limited by a scheme approved under Professional Standards Legislation.