On the internet, a lot of people feel free to say anything they want. While you may feel like there is more freedom online, the reality is that you can still face the consequences of what you post on social media.
According to U.S. News, libel and slander can occur on the internet.
What constitutes defamation?
If you file a lawsuit for defamation, you can do so based on what someone said online. First, the statement needs to be false, next, the person needs to make the statement as fact. When someone publishes a false statement about you, it can damage your reputation. If someone defames your character, you need to prove it caused you harm. Emotional and reputational harm does not always constitute damages. You may have to show economic damages. For instance, if a lie about you caused you to lose your job or other economic opportunities, you may have a defamation case.
What is the difference between an opinion and fact?
When it comes to defamation, you have to distinguish between opinion and fact. If someone has an idea about you and states it, this may not necessarily be defamation, even if false. However, this does not mean that someone can make defamatory statements against you and try to frame them as opinions. The major distinguishing factor is whether the person can prove it true or false. When the court judges a defamation lawsuit, they take into consideration the context of the statement.
On social media, news moves fast. People can spread defamatory statements via hundreds and thousands of people. You can sue a person for spreading false information even if he or she does not start the rumor. You have to prove that the person acted negligently and with malice.