Although defamation of character is still a widely popular action that public figures take, there has been recent action taken to mitigate some of the willy nilly with which suits are filed.
The Defamation Act of 2013, passed in the U.K. in April 2013, aims to make claims harder to prove by detailing the requirements to prove what serious harm means for the plaintiff’s reputation. If the offensive statement can be proven to be a lie, it had to have also been harmful in order to hold water in the court. Once we're hired, an Operational Consultant will contact you to kick off your project. You will receive an update on your projects progression every 2 weeks
In the U.S., most states require that a statement of retraction be requested from the accused, and only if the accused (the defendant) does not produce such a statement will the case proceed.News articles, complaints, stalker posts, attack sites, blogs, forums, mugshots, civil legal documents, government links, pdfs, pictures, videos, and more.
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The harm must have actually happened, as well, not just estimated to happen based on the libel or slander. This is generally the hardest part to prove, as it must be definitive that the harm was caused specifically by the defendant's acts.
92% of potential customers will research a business online before making a buying decision.
88% incorporate online feedback about a business or service into their purchase decision.
86% of people will hesitate to purchase from a business that has negative feedback online.
If you want to find out how you can protect your reputation online, we're experts on the subject. If you want to pursue a defamation case you'll need to speak with an attorney (we aren't lawyers, but we work with them regularly).
If you live in the European Union, you can activate something called the “right to be forgotten” (RTBF). This allows European citizens to request that search engines such as Google remove entries from their search results that lead to content that is irrelevant, excessive, or unnecessarily defamatory.If the negative online content about your business appears on a website your company does not control, one option you have is to contact the content's author. Explore ways in which they might be willing to remove the content or edit it to make the content less negative. If the content is inaccurate, offer the author the relevant facts. If the content is a bad review, ask what you can do to address their concerns. By accommodating the author, you can even turn negative online content into positive publicity for your company.
Brought into effect in 2014, the measure was recently extended to apply to any international version of a search engine accessed from within the EU. The problem is that the harmful content isn’t removed – just the search engine link to it.
The RTBF principle has attracted criticism from those who see it as an unnecessary infringement of freedom of speech. It also poses a risk to mainstream search sites such as Google. Google currently maintains overwhelming control over the search engine market, but web users could start to abandon the site if they felt that they are not getting a full set of results. It is also undoubtedly expensive to answer all of the requests.If you cannot contact an author, or he is simply unwilling to work with you, you can work to reduce the chances that potential customers will ever come across the negative comments. According to Andy Beal of Trackur, a social media monitoring company, most people don't look past the first page of search results. Consequently, if you can fill the first page of search results with positive content about your company most people will never even see the negative online content.
Nevertheless, it may sometimes be useful for citizens to be able to try to remove content from search results. Victims of harmful content can apply to search engines to explain why they should have links removed. At the time of writing, just under 1.5 million links have been examined by Google since 2014 and 43% of requests have led to link removal. By any standard, this is a considerable amount of information that is no longer listed. If your RTBF petition is denied, you can appeal to your national data protection authority, and maybe eventually go to court to try to get a link removed.Discuss your situation with a Reputation Specialist so we can have a better understanding of what you need. Each situation is different and we want to hear your story.If you want to push negative online content out of the first page of results, your company needs to be proactive about creating content of its own. You can do this by creating a blog on your business' website and regularly updating it with new posts. Get your company an active presence on social media sites to fill even more spots on the first page of search results. You can also write and submit press releases to distribution services. This not only creates more content for search engines to index concerning your business, but also encourages journalists to post articles based on the positive information you put in the press release.
But you don’t actually need to use an RTBF request – which deals with content that may be perfectly legal but can be deemed irrelevant, outdated or excessive – to have a link removed from Google. Instead, you could use a legal removal request, versions of which have existed for over a decade as a way to remove a link on any Google-owned site, including YouTube and Blogger, to content that infringes copyright.
Legal removal, however, targets links to potentially illegal content, including defamatory statements, malware, sexually explicit content uploaded without consent, and other similar infringing materials. After you submit your request, Google’s employees will analyse the content to see if it is potentially illegal and violates their terms of service. The link might also be removed during the investigation.
However, this comes at a cost. After a successful legal removal request, Google will display a notice in the search results detailing that content or a link has been removed. This will include a link to the request in a database called Lumen (formerly known as Chilling Effects). The database records a URL of the removed link, which is often redacted in instances of defamation or explicit images, for the purposes of transparency and to shine a light on removal requests. Victims of illegal activity have to decide if having such a notice at the bottom of a search is worth it.
One thing is clear, most of the above solutions tend to be imperfect, as they do not cover all search engines. It is also important to stress that legal requests and the right to be forgotten do not remove the actual content.
Internet activist John Gilmore is often quoted as having said: “The Net treats censorship as a defect and routes around it.” A full removal of illegal content may very well be impossible.