Before you post about people or businesses on social media be very careful that you are not engaging in defamation.

For example, unless you have absolute and unequivocal proof of your assertions, it is not advisable to publish a post that says a person is ‘an absolute rip-off merchant’ or a business is a ‘rip-off shop’ because that is tantamount to a public accusation of criminal fraud about the person or business. This is serious stuff!

Depending on the circumstances, such a post may be more serious, as it may have a significantly-financially-damaging effect on the subject’s reputation and general standing in the community and business.

Under Defamation Acts, a person’s lawyers may speedily request you to publish or join in publishing a reasonable correction of what you have posted and call upon you to offer to pay their legal expenses incurred in objecting to your post, as well as the legal expenses incurred by them in considering any compensation offer from you. This can be a costly and nerve-wracking business for the injudicious poster on social media.

So:

  1. Be honest and short in your posts.
  2. Don’t rant.
  3. Understand that the way you might interpret things about another person or business needs to be subject to considerable due diligence on your part, before publishing adverse comments.
  4. Finally, be aware that people and businesses do set up Google alerts to keep track that their own ‘brand’ is not being demolished by wild and wrong assertions or accusations.

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