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How to Defend Yourself With Online Libel Management

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by Staff Writer

While there are many advantages to the Internet, there are also drawbacks. One of the largest problems, from a reputation management perspective, is online libel. Here's what to know, and how to defend yourself with online libel management.

What Is Libel?

Legally speaking, libel is a false statement deliberately published to damage your reputation. It's distinct from slander, which is a statement spoken that is known to be false and damaging to your reputation. If somebody accused you of a crime they know you didn't commit on television, it'd be slander. If they do it in a blog entry, it's libel. Both, however, fall under online defamation management.

The Legal Status Of Libel

Libel is, of course, a crime, so obviously if somebody says something false about you, it must be libel, right? Unfortunately, it's not as clear-cut as that, legally speaking. To prove that somebody is committing libel, you have to prove three things: that the statement was presented as fact, that the person writing that statement knew it was untrue, and that the statement was deliberately designed to damage your reputation.

That can be a lot harder than you think as you're building your online defamation control strategy. There's no law against just not liking something or someone, and the courts are very, very careful not to abridge the rights of others in this respect. Similarly, you often have to demonstrate clear and direct damage to your business or your personal life to win a case.

Taking a libel case to court is only a good idea in very extreme, clear-cut circumstances. Otherwise, it's going to cost you a lot of money, take up a lot of time, and, in the end, you might not win, and that's bad for any sort of online libel control.

Defending Yourself From Online Libel

The good news, though, is that the Internet gives you techniques and tools that let you apply online libel management far more effectively than hiring a lawyer and going to court. It's a simple matter of understanding search engines and using how they work to make it so no one bothers to read it.

Most libel online is found by searching the Internet, and most search engines will "rank" a page based on how relevant it is to the terms you use. However, when searching for you, all but a tiny percentage of people will look past the first few results, and a smaller percentage of those will look at the second page. This is your best tool for controlling libel online.

So, removing online libel from your search results is a pretty simple matter. First of all, you can ask websites to remove it directly, and even ask search engines to remove the link. This is at their discretion, but it may get results. Secondly, you can simply ensure that positive news about you or your brand is widely shared and widely read. The more positive content there is about you out there, the harder it is for libel to damage your online reputation.

ReputationDefender can help you keep up your online reputation, whether you're fighting a smear campaign or just want to develop a strong defense against online libel. Don't let libel define you, contact ReputationDefender.

Photo credits: euthman, gurana