Social Media Defamation


10 August 2018

If your character has unjustifiably been attacked on Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn, you have the right under the Defamation Act 2009 to claim for defamation on social media in Ireland, and take legal action to defend your reputation and to recover damages for any “adverse event” you have experienced.

Your right to take legal action is not limited to unjustifiable attacks on your character on Ireland´s three most popular networking sites. If you have been libelled on any social media site or forum, you are equally entitled to make claims for defamation on social media.

Ahead of Making Claims for Defamation on Social Media

Ahead of making claims for defamation on social media in Ireland, there has to be physical evidence that your character was attacked. If you have only heard from a friend or colleague that somebody posted, tweeted or published defamatory comments about you, and you have no evidence to support claims for defamation on social media, any legal action you initiate is unlikely to be successful.

Furthermore, in order to successfully make claims for defamation on social media, it has to be shown that you, your family or your business suffered an adverse event as the result of the defamatory comments. If, for example, a tweet attacking your character was deleted soon after being tweeted, and its exposure would have been minimal, there may not have been a sufficiently severe adverse event to warrant taking legal action.

Recent “social media” defamation decisions in the Circuit Courts

A number of recent Circuit Court decisions have seen up to €80,000 awarded in damages.

One such case came before Monaghan Circuit Court and involved an allegedly defamatory item on Facebook which suggested that the national director of Ireland’s game shooting body had caused the organisation to go “broke”.

A Co Monaghan man had posted the item on Facebook on or about 22 December 2015, and was ordered to pay €75,000 in damages.

In awarding the maximum allowable damages, the Judge commented that his order should teach people posting messages on the social media site to be very careful.

A similar case before Carrick-on-Shannon Circuit Court concerned a publication on a Facebook page by the defendant on August 22, 2016. The message written about the claimant was in relation to money that had gone missing in the 1980s and 90s. In awarding €65,000 damages plus legal costs, the Judge noted that it was a “particularly nasty defamation” of the claimant with very devastating effects for him.

Have you been the victim of social media defamation?

The Irish Claims Authority provide a panel of experts who assess cases on merit. Our team is on hand to provide you with a detailed assessment of your case, including whether the circumstances give rise to a viable claim and the level of damages you should expect to receive.

If you believe you’re entitled to claiming compensation for an attack on your character, we invite you to contact us and discuss the nature of the attack today by completing our Online Enquiry Form.

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