Recently we have seen a small increase in members intentionally, or unintentionally, attempting to put companies in disrepute.
It is potentially damaging to any company in question, and furthermore defamation laws do apply to the individuals who post such information including you.
Read articles below:
Landmark case shows SMEs can take legal action against online defamation - 25 February 2010 (Source: Smart Company website).
Cyber poison-penner hunted down and sued - 25 February 2010 (Source: The Age website)
These members also implicate others who partake in such dialogue. Recently, a member was legally pursued for simply quoting someone else's objectionable information which unnecessarily put a lot of emotional strain and hardship on that individual.
The consequences can be quite severe. In short you risk being sued by your company. We will also legally pursue individuals and seek redress and it won't be our first time.
The risks are real, and the potential loss one can suffer by posting with malintent, and / or without care, is very real also. Individuals stand to lose much more than less significant amounts sometimes complained about.
For those individuals who have shared a little too much and think that by using an abbreviated or a variant of a company name instead of the actual company name are not liable, think again. If the identity can be revealed by any reasonable person by forming some association between alias and company name, by any remote link established between a variant / abbreviation and a company name, by the link to your blog, by a give-away response to your post in a thread, or by another thread (and not limited to), then you should be extremely concerned.
If one complains about a burger purchased at MacDonalds or McD's, which company would a reasonable person conclude this to be? If you know the answer to this then you should be concerned about any company name variants and associated comments you may be hiding behind.
Furthermore, in Australia, even if you only state the facts, but the iteration of facts is damaging then you are at high risk of being threatened with a defamation suit.
As a forum member, What must I do?
- Understand your liability, and read about the Australian defamation laws that apply to you.
- Read and edit every existing post of yours where required.
- Use the 'Report Post' button to notify us of objectionable posts at risk of being defamatory posted by other members.
If you have any further questions please do not hesitate to PM me.