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Defamation of character cases on 'anonymous' forums. Your opinion please.

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All jokes aside about the internet being a serious business, do you think it is acceptable to take action against someone for defamation of character on an 'anonymous' on-line forum? (Obviously this … Read More
Liddle ol' me Avatar
8y, 3m agoPosted 8 years, 3 months ago
All jokes aside about the internet being a serious business, do you think it is acceptable to take action against someone for defamation of character on an 'anonymous' on-line forum? (Obviously this means within the law, not breaking their windows - lol ).

If not, why not, and where should the line be drawn?
If it is acceptable, what methods are appropriate?

Please avoid references to any personal differences between members on this or other forums unless the case has been reported as 'news'.

Let's also keep this thread objective. You don't have to be serious, but at least avoid making it personal.

Some definitions of defamation to work from: A false accusation of an offense or a malicious misrepresentation of someone's words or actions. In law, defamation (also called calumny, libel, slander, and vilification) is the communication of a statement that makes a false claim, expressively stated or implied to be factual, that may give a negative image.

Obviously we should be talking about SERIOUS defamation of character here, not petty squabbles between online 'rivals'.

Here is a recent example from Japan http://www.google.co.uk/search?rlz=1C1GGLS_en-GBGB292GB303&sourceid=chrome&ie=UTF-8&q=police-
Liddle ol' me Avatar
8y, 3m agoPosted 8 years, 3 months ago
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banned#1
you mean saying someone raped me?
banned#2
no i dont, now if someone knows your real name and adds that to it then yes


oooops i thought you meant towards another member
#3
lumoruk
you mean saying someone raped me?



virtually? :?
#4
if the defamation is deserved then no it shouldnt be removed or action taken but if its a white lie then of course action should occur ....

im not gonna name the company etc but not hard to find ...... a company got into the national papers (*ran by 16 year old) and got so many orders from it ....

now customers have been charged loads of money cos of his "t&c's" and also been found out, they got all their stock from ebay then sold it as new when it was used ... the customers are defamationing the company, his name, the family etc and getting into their personal lives etc

but its all deserved as it was a scam .... but if its found out it was a misunderstanding then the owners would have the right to have all the posters of defamation to remove the defamation etc

also ebayers have started suing other ebayers for leaving negative feedback :o which is bonkers :lol:
#5
lumoruk
you mean saying someone raped me?


Hmm .... well, obviously that would be a criminal issue. But I suppose it would count as defamation if someone accused another FALSELY of being a rapist. But I was thinking more about attacks on someone's character. I'll try to find some online examples of cases that have been taken to court or reported widely...
1 Like #6
Making false statements about someone else to a third party that cause harm to that person's reputation is grounds for a defamation of character
banned#7
Liddle ol' me
Hmm .... well, obviously that would be a criminal issue. But I suppose it would count as defamation if someone accused another FALSELY of being a rapist. But I was thinking more about attacks on someone's character. I'll try to find some online examples of cases that have been taken to court or reported widely...


you mean calling someone a perv, or saying that they are a cack parent, or they steal, etc, etc
#9
We all know that words can be "weapons" and that the things said about or to a person can be harmful on so many levels. Often people online might express themselves a little more thoughtlessly just because they aren't face to face with their "opponent". The glass screen can give courage where face to face there would be immaturity, misunderstanding and/or cowardice.

However, if there is no revealing of personal data, names, IP addresses, realworld contact details and arguably I would say also, online personality, then I wouldn't think it accurate to claim defamation of character.

The grey area here is whether you would agree that in expressing a derogatory opinion about someone elses screen character, their online persona, is also defamation of character. There are real world living breathing people behind any screen name. And yet, there is also that right to have ones own opinions and judgements.. the choice is.. whether it is tactful and intelligent to share them, especially in print!

An interesting point hon xx
#10
sassie
no i dont, now if someone knows your real name and adds that to it then yes


Agreed about naming. But what about cases where the 'anonymity' isn't actually complete - only partially anonymous, if you know what I mean?
banned#11
Liddle ol' me
Agreed about naming. But what about cases where the 'anonymity' isn't actually complete - only partially anonymous, if you know what I mean?


I think name calling is childs play, and the name caller should be treated as that
#12
Ginner
Making false statements about someone else to a third party that cause harm to that person's reputation is grounds for a defamation of character


ok, another good definition

sassie
you mean calling someone a perv, or saying that they are a cack parent, or they steal, etc, etc


I'm not sure I want to define what it would be. It would obviously depend on what the person thinks is defamatory. Although as faevilangel points out, this can sometimes become ridiculous. I also wouldn't count negative feedback on eBay! :lol:
#13
Liddle ol' me
Agreed about naming. But what about cases where the 'anonymity' isn't actually complete - only partially anonymous, if you know what I mean?


partially anonymous?...how?
#14
i don't have an online character for forums/internet (domestic not work) that remotely resembles my RL character so it would therefore a false accusation against a false online persona equalling nothing.

i'm a muppet ffs
#15
ClarityofMind
The grey area here is whether you would agree that in expressing a derogatory opinion about someone elses screen character, their online persona, is also defamation of character. There are real world living breathing people behind any screen name. And yet, there is also that right to have ones own opinions and judgements.. the choice is.. whether it is tactful and intelligent to share them, especially in print!

An interesting point hon xx


Yes, I guess it was this kind of thing I was thinking of.

( haven't been called hon in a while btw - I'm male, are you female? :) )
#16
Alfonse
i don't have an online character for forums/internet (domestic not work) that remotely resembles my RL character so it would therefore a false accusation against a false online persona equalling nothing.

i'm a muppet ffs


lol

Many people do this. I actually encouraged my children to create a false online personality to protect themselves while they were online. It is amazing the things they come in contact with though so far they have been incredibly responsible and sensible in avoiding things that might have become damaging.
#17
Liddle ol' me
Yes, I guess it was this kind of thing I was thinking of.

( haven't been called hon in a while btw - I'm male, are you female? :) )


last time i gave birth i was! lol
banned#18
i know for a fact certain members have been pm'd, msn to not talk to me, it says more about them than it does me, i couldnt personally care less, if my name was mentioned on here and things where said about me i wouldnt be too happy, but again it says more about them than it does me, like i said child like behaviour should be treated as such
#19
Yes, this question of the division between online and offline characters is the really interesting one for me. I'm not so sure that the division is a genuine one. I think as CoM says, people can 'hide behind' an online persona, but in reality, it is still them typing the words. And surely we must be responsible for those words, whether we are afraid to tell people who we are or not..? It's a difficult question, actually....
#20
sassie
i know for a fact certain members have been pm'd, msn to not talk to me, it says more about them than it does me, i couldnt personally care less, if my name was mentioned on here and things where said about me i wouldnt be too happy, but again it says more about them than it does me, like i said child like behaviour should be treated as such


on the plus side, its nice to stand out so much in an online community of + 100k that people go to these lengths :thumbsup:
#21
The problem with the internet is that we are really only the first/second generations with wide ranging access to it and it isn't yet policed fully and anyone on it isn't fully protected from so many dangers. The ill wishes of others is just one of those issues that need to be dealt with properly at some stage, though how on earth anyone will be able to do that, is anyones guess!
banned#22
MinstrelMan
on the plus side, its nice to stand out so much in an online community of + 100k that people go to these lengths :thumbsup:


I dont need to feel special here, because i am special within my own right ;-)
#23
sassie
I dont need to feel special here, because i am special within my own right ;-)


I also have prescription shoes :thumbsup:
#24
faevilangel;4349492
if the defamation is deserved then no it shouldnt be removed or action taken but if its a white lie then of course action should occur ....


Defamation is a lie by definition. Say I called Gary Glitter a "nonce" or a "2-pin din-plug", that wouldn't really be defamation as its been proven in several courts of law. If I was to suggest a certain Wacko on the otherhand... :whistling:
#25
sassie
I dont need to feel special here, because i am special within my own right ;-)


and ull soon have a letter to prove it!!!! xx
banned#26


LOL one even has that someone got suied for a neutral
#27
sassie
i know for a fact certain members have been pm'd, msn to not talk to me, it says more about them than it does me, i couldnt personally care less, if my name was mentioned on here and things where said about me i wouldnt be too happy, but again it says more about them than it does me, like i said child like behaviour should be treated as such


childish games...best ignored.

that's when the X in the corner comes into its own ;-)
#28
sassie
i know for a fact [...] but again it says more about them than it does me, like i said child like behaviour should be treated as such


Yes, I agree that examples of how 'real' internet life actually is for some people is shown by their desire to defend their forum personalities (and carry on disputes outside that forum etc.). But that's not really anything to do with defamation. It's just, like you say, childish behaviour. But if they were saying defamatory things about you (serious and damaging things you knew to be false), would you ever think it justified to take it further? For example, take legal action?

( but btw, please let's avoid discussing any personal issues, or anything related to this forum :thumbsup: )
#29
Paddy Charlie
LOL one even has that someone got suied for a neutral


gosh... it's crazy!
banned#30
Liddle ol' me
Yes, I agree that examples of how 'real' internet life actually is for some people is shown by their desire to defend their forum personalities (and carry on disputes outside that forum etc.). But that's not really anything to do with defamation. It's just, like you say, childish behaviour. But if they were saying defamatory things about you (serious and damaging things you knew to be false), would you ever think it justified to take it further? For example, take legal action?

( but btw, please let's avoid discussing any personal issues, or anything related to this forum :thumbsup: )


they do say things about me that are untrue, in the hope that people will listen, but no i wouldnt take it futher, sticks and stones ;-)
#31
defamation on the internet would be in 'permanent' form, therefore libel. Basically, the statement simply has to expose person to hatred, or cause them to be shunned/avoided, or lower peoples thinking of them, or professionally disparage them. The claimant does NOT even have to prove that it was false (but defendant to prove it to be true!).

The claimant does have to prove that it was defamatory, reasonably understood to refer to them and it's been published.

With this in mind, generally an action would fail against someone because it won't ultimately affect your character as being anonymous on a forum is almost like a false persona (although I know people are often most themselves when online). Someone being anonymous, also means the 'right-thinking' members of society (a jury) won't believe it to reasonably refer to them.

Examples where an action might work are when you've given enough details to whittle it down to where it could only be one of a few people. Eg. saying you work for a specific business and give it's location, dept. etc.

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2006/03/23/internet_libel_payout/

Basically Libel is subject to the same laws on the internet as any other way they class as 'permanent' form.
#32
Liddle ol' me
Yes, this question of the division between online and offline characters is the really interesting one for me. I'm not so sure that the division is a genuine one. I think as CoM says, people can 'hide behind' an online persona, but in reality, it is still them typing the words. And surely we must be responsible for those words, whether we are afraid to tell people who we are or not..? It's a difficult question, actually....


it is the person typing the words but when trolling becomes a legal framework for the said issue then maybe then it could be a genuine concept of character assassination, of course if the character offended is a real one to begin with..............
#33
ClarityofMind
The problem with the internet is that we are really only the first/second generations with wide ranging access to it and it isn't yet policed fully and anyone on it isn't fully protected from so many dangers. The ill wishes of others is just one of those issues that need to be dealt with properly at some stage, though how on earth anyone will be able to do that, is anyones guess!


This is a good post! Yes, I also think this is a 'gathering issue', one that will be become increasingly more important as we catch up with all its implications.

This thread was sparked by my wife telling me about a recent case in Japan where the police arrested several anonymous members of an online forum for abusive accusations. Hold on, I'll try and find a link... :thumbsup:
banned#34
acecatcher3
liddle if u feel that what i said was wrong, take it further...with mods...thread closed


you may think/know this thread was the outcome of your posts, doesnt mean it cant turn into a debate away from yours and his posts :thumbsup:
#35
surely an on-line alter ego is "part" of your character so imo this is still libel if, as stated, it is actually a lie or unproven accusation.
#36
here is a link to that recent Japanese case - I'll go read it now too

http://news.smh.com.au/breaking-news-technology/japan-police-to-bring-libel-charges-over-blog-posts-20090206-7z40.html

I'm going to add this link to the OP.

And btw guys, could we please leave the personal issues out of this as I stated on the OP. Let's discuss this objectively. This is nothing to do with any dispute I have with anyone on here. It is an interesting topic that probably resonates with a lot of people, granted. But can we keep any personal resonance out of the way? Let's keep focussed on the issues and not the personalities. :thumbsup:
#37
Liddle ol' me
Yes, I agree that examples of how 'real' internet life actually is for some people is shown by their desire to defend their forum personalities (and carry on disputes outside that forum etc.). But that's not really anything to do with defamation. It's just, like you say, childish behaviour. But if they were saying defamatory things about you (serious and damaging things you knew to be false), would you ever think it justified to take it further? For example, take legal action?

( but btw, please let's avoid discussing any personal issues, or anything related to this forum :thumbsup: )


Personally if the defamation was THAT damaging I think you would be well within your rights to *consider* further action.

I think you would need to consider whether the defamation could be measured or shown in any real-life ways.

For instance did it cause you work-related problems?
Did it cause you to lose money?
Did it cause relationship/family issues?
Emotional/psychiatric difficulties?

You would probably need to show a definite causal relationship between the defamation and the difficulties it caused you and use common sense.

But this is an *extreme* example. Say for instance cyber bullying caused a girl to feel so bad about herself that she took her own life. That kind of serious. Otherwise, the courts get enough bs to deal with without individuals being able to come running to them... "but he called me a pig and i DON'T have a curly tail, it's defamation! And now my wife wont sleep with me..." is laughable.

Having said that I think it is important for every individual to treat others with kindness, respect and understanding no matter the form of communication.
banned#38
acecatcher3
no sass im 100% sure that was why the thread was made but ur right ill leave now, come back later, anymore references to hukd ill just spam it.


many threads are made from other threads, maybe it was started from a comment you made, but im 100% sure you have made a thread from a comment said in another thread, and as for spamming it, not sure why you would do that, but each to their own
#39
Liddle ol' me


he confessed to a murder himself, not really a defamation of character he shopped himself, lol for the sake of a joke
#40
sassie
many threads are made from other threads, maybe it was started from a comment you made, but im 100% sure you have made a thread from a comment said in another thread, and as for spamming it, not sure why you would do that, but each to their own


aye i used to do that didnt i, make a thread about another thread........remember where i ended up...a huge BANNED under my name lol...hopefully the mods will decide the same fate for lom.

as for the spamming bit, if a member feels that a thread is infact aimed at them, if its malicious, they can use report button and spam button, mods can then check the thread themselves and "clean it up" a little.

i dont really mind it atm, if i feel lom is talkin about me in any of his comments however this thread wont appear again.

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