156 defamation claims were brought in 2017 which is up from the 112 in 2016, official government statistics reveal.*
Stormy Daniels defamation lawsuit against Donald Trump’s for his tweet is just the latest example of a string of lawsuits triggered by the use of Twitter or other social media platforms. Opinions suggest that the growing use of social media has a direct impact on claims in defamation.
There are two types of defamation: Libel and Slander.
Libel refers to written statements whilst slander refers to spoken statements.
Libel actions are generally (and we say this loosely) easier to determine than slander. Anonymity behind written statements can still create complications as we saw back in 2009, when an anonymous Twitter user used our client’s name to post, breaching copyright and Intellectual Property laws. For the first time, the High Court allowed service of an injunction via Twitter. The injunction required the unknown Twitter user to stop posting and immediately identify themselves. This type of injunction was dubbed The Blaney Blarney Order, named after our Founder.
Under the Defamation Act 2013, a claimant must be able to demonstrate that the statement has caused or is likely to cause serious harm to their reputation.
In a case of libel, the test for Claimants to satisfy are that the statement:
- Was made;
- Refers to the claimant explicitly; and
- Was published so that a third party may read it.
In addition to the above criteria, in order to satisfy the test for slander, the claimant must evidence a financial loss as a result.
With such a vast online space and the increased use of social media, a poor reputation can spread like wildfire. Everyone in business knows that once their reputation has been shattered, it is hard to make amends.
If Griffin Law can help prevent one thing, it is someone else shattering your reputation.
* This figure does not take into account the increased number of claims that would have settled pre-action i.e. without the need to issue at all.