Steven Mitchell Sack appeared on “FOX & Friends” on December 7 to discuss how negative statements and comments about a business, competitor, contractor or person on the Internet may expose the author to expensive litigation.
Mr. Sack explains:
• Defamation is injury to one’s reputation. It can be in writing (libel) or an oral expression (slander).
• Statements that are true or merely express an opinion are not actionable, no matter how offensive.
• It is never a good idea to post anything malicious about someone on the Internet because you cannot delete the posting after it is sent.
• You should always be extremely cautious when criticizing a business, contractor, competitor or product in writing on the Internet because a statement that disparages a person’s business reputation and implies that person is dishonest, fraudulent, or incompetent, can bring about a defamation lawsuit.
• Defending such actions, even if you win, can be financially devastating.
• Avoid repeating unconfirmed gossip, particularly about the financial condition of someone or a business.
• If you must post statements on the Internet, be sure to state it is your personal opinion only.
“Always be cautious when writing and posting comments on the Internet,” Mr. Sack said. “Any negative untrue statements you blog may result in legal action for defamation, product disparagement or trade libel, among other legal courses of action. I hope people will keep these rules in mind before they decide to make scathing, untrue comments about a person’s financial condition, honesty or competency on any website or blog.”