Defendants may have several defenses at their disposal when faced with a defamation claim. Keep in mind that the definition of defamation is the assertion of a false statement of fact. Remembering this will help make sense of the following defenses.
Truth: If the statement concerning the plaintiff is true, then there is no falsity of the statement, and thus, no claim for libel or slander.
Opinion: A fundamental test to determine whether a statement is opinion or fact is whether the statement can be proved true or false in a court of law. If it cannot be proved true, then it is classified as opinion, and vice versa.
Absolute Privilege: Absolute privilege is the legal right to say or communicate a statement and will typically apply in legislative proceedings, and when giving evidence in court. A statement qualifies as absolutely privileged (even if defamatory) when it is necessary the statement be heard for social, political, or other important reasons. Absolute privilege even protects statements made with actual malice.
Conditional Privilege: Conditional or “qualified” privilege may be used as a defense in situations where the statement was made in interest of furthering public interest – such as a journalist reporting on a certain matter or a university president writing an unfavorable letter of recommendation for a professor. Qualified privilege will not protect statements made with actual malice.
Consent: Plaintiffs who consent to having a defamatory statement made or published about them will be barred from bringing a defamation claim.
How to Remove News Article from Google Search
Another common approach to removing defamatory news articles from Google Search and the internet is to consult with an attorney.
Seeking legal counsel to remove news articles only works if at least one of the following is applicable:
The news article contains statements that are demonstrably false and defamatory
The news article copied from a source that is the rightful copyright owner of the content contained in the article.
If (1) applies to your situation, click here to learn more about submitting a legal content removal request to Google. If (2) is applicable, click here to learn how to use a DMCA takedown request to remove news from a website.
In most cases, for people trying to remove negative news, neither (1) nor (2) apply, leaving the victim of the negative news publication with no legal recourse to take to get the story removed. This leads us to a third option: use the services of a third-party online reputation management or content removal service.
Use Online Reputation Management
The last option is the most effective to get rid of negative newspaper articles on the internet. Online reputation management (ORM) services allow individuals to enlist expert help. In many instances of negative news publications, ORM companies have worked with the websites from which you would like to remove the negative article and have contacts in the news site's editorial department that can facilitate the de-indexation of your article, resulting in the article being removed from search engines.
When reputation management companies are unable to remove or de-index an article they can suppress the negative link so that it no longer appears on the first few pages of Google Search.
Because most people don't look beyond the 2nd or 3rd page of search results, this is normally the best way to hide negative information (that can't be removed or de-indexed) on the internet.
Which News Sites Can I Have Bad Articles Removed From?
We've received requests to remove articles from hundreds of online news sites and have seen a good deal of success with helping those that have reached out to us bury negative stories on search results.
Below are a few popular websites that we've helped people remove negative articles from, suppress negative news items and/or de-index a web page so it doesn't show on on search engines.
The Chicago Tribune
NY Times com
SSRI Stories org
B) Suppress Negative Newspaper Articles on Google Search Results with ORM
How to Suppress Negative News and Bad Press Articles on Google Search
A handful of Online Reputation Management (ORM) companies offer effective solutions to push down negative news articles on Google, Bing and other major search engines. This ORM strategy of burying negative items on search engines is commonly referred to as Search Engine Suppression or Reverse SEO.
How to Bury Negative Articles on Google Search Results and Fix Your Online Reputation?
What follows is only a very brief explanation of how Reverse SEO works to bury negative news articles on search engines like Google. For our current purposes however, it should suffice.
Fair Comment on a Matter of Public Interest: A more nuanced defense, fair comment on a matter of public interest will protect against a defamation claim where the defendant acted in good faith and honest belief when making a statement concerning public interest. It will be upheld if a court determines a reasonable person could honestly entertain such a thought.
Ohio Defamation Law Tip: Ohio and twelve other states recognize what are referred to as “food libel laws,” or food disparagement, and veggie libel laws. Food libel laws exist to provide producers, manufacturers, and processors of food easier remedy when their products have been falsely and maliciously attacked.
High Risk of Online Libel
Which Parties Are at High Risk of Online Libel?
Most people completely discount online defamation and don’t think it could possibly affect or impact their lives. Although that may be a reasonable assumption to make, it’s important to remember that defamation does not discriminate, and the crux of the claim is that the statement is “untrue.” Therefore, even if you’re a model citizen, there’s still malicious persons and online trolls out there who are looking to push their own agendas by posting false content online.
Such reasons for posting defamatory statements online can include:
A heated argument or exchange online or in your daily life
A recent break-up with a boyfriend, girlfriend, or spouse
A customer who feels that he or she did not get a fair shake
A business competitor
A jealous social competitor
Mistakes on a website that displays mugshots
Mistakes on a website naming sexual predators
Unfortunately the above covers only a few of the more common scenarios for internet defamation. The sad fact in today’s world is inaccurate and damaging posts can appear without warning from even a minor disagreement or awkward interaction.
Some high-risk professions include:
High-risk parties should look into purchasing defamation insurance, which could help lessen the overall financial impact a defamation claim has on them, especially if it tends to happen frequently.
To read up more on what defamation insurance is and the ins and outs of purchasing it, check out our comprehensive blog post titled “What is Defamation Insurance and Do I Need It?” here.
Defamation Removal Tip: A plaintiff will be deemed “libel proof,” when their reputation is in such poor standing in the community, that the disparaging and defamatory statement in question ultimately had no effect on them. Damages are an essential element of defamation claims, but when there is no damage, there is no claim.
Looking to Remove Online Defamation? Call the Libel Attorney’s at Webcide.com Today!
If you’ve been the target of online libel and want to have it removed permanently, you have options. Reach out to the highly experienced libel removal attorneys at Webcide.com now!
At Webcide.com, we have a near 100% removal success rate, and all for a flat, reasonable fee. Our goals are your goals, so let’s get started today.
Here’s what you can expect from our team:
Courtesy & Respect: Being the subject of a malicious online attack or post can have you feeling stressed and vulnerable. We know that, and have dealt with hundreds of cases. At Webcide.com, we will treat you with the utmost respect and courtesy. After all, your goals are our goals.
Websites Respond to Webcide.com: At Webcide.com, we know who to contact and how to contact them. We work closely with website administrators, third-party arbitration services, and content managers in order to explore options and secure a swift and permanent takedown.
We’re here to work WITH you: After commencing with the takedown process, we will stay in constant contact with you, ensuring you’re updated on your rights and on any necessary changes. We pride ourselves on our communication, and will never leave you in the dark wondering “what’s next?”
Reach out today . It’s time you put an end to the online abuse.
No one deserves to be defamed. At Webcide.com, we want to fight for your reputation.
Liability for Repeating Defamatory Statement
Can a person be held liable for simply repeating defamatory statements that someone else published? The answer is maybe. It depends on the circumstances surrounding the original publication and when and how it was repeated or republished. Determination of damages and from who they are sought is based on the point at Are you liable for repeating a defamatory statement? which the plaintiff suffered harm.
Who is Liable?
A person who is privileged to repeat a statement—for example, a person testifying in a court of law or a reporter relying on a public document or public official—is not liable for the any harm resulting from repeating a defamatory statement. Likewise, if the repetition is authorized by the originator of the defamatory statement, the person repeating the statement is not liable. In both of these situations the originator of the statement would be liable to the person who was defamed. Williams v. Fulks, 113 Ark. 82, 167 S.W. 93 (1914); Stonekink v. Briggs, 254 Cal.App.2d 563, 62 Cal.Rptr. 249 (1967).
If defamation is repeated without privilege and without permission, the person who repeated the statement and caused the harm is liable. Frommoethelydo v. Fire Ins. Exhange (1986) 42 Cal.3d 208, 217. “A false statement is not less libelous because it is the repetition of rumor or gossip or of statements or allegations that others have made concerning the matter.” Ray v. Citizen-News Co. (1936) 14 Cal.App.2d 6, 8-9. In fact, each repetition of a defamatory statement may be considered a separate publication and, therefore, a separate cause of action even if the source is identified. Di Giorgio Corp. v. Valley Labor Citizen (1968) 260 Cal.App.2d 268.
The person who originated the statement is not liable to the plaintiff if he or she did not intend for the material to be repeated and, based on the manner of distribution/publication, had no reason to believe it would be. Waite v. Stockgrowers’ Credit Corp. 63 N.D. 763, 249 N.W. 910 (1933).
However, if the originator distributed the material in such a way as to give the impression he was okay with the information being shared with many people, he too would be liable. Likewise if the material was published in such a way that reasonable people would expect it to be repeated, even if that was not the originator’s intention, he would be liable for damages.