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Ben Jones
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Law
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Experience:  Qualified Solicitor
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Is facebook or it subsidaries liable for printing slanders

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Is facebook or it subsidaries liable for printing slanders accusation along with author of those.

Hello, my name is***** am a qualified lawyer and I will be assisting you with your question today.

Customer: replied 4 months ago.
My son has had remarks posted on facebook which could be ruinous. We have contacted police but wait for an appointment
Customer: replied 4 months ago.
What constitutes a claim on such matters as Slander in England

The current defamation law provides that anyone contributing to the publication of a defamatory statement holds joint responsibility for it. However, there is a defence to this if it can be shown that the party has unwittingly and innocently disseminate the alleged defamatory material.

Under the Defamation Act 1996, there is a defence to organisations which own websites over which they have editorial control (e.g. Facebook). If someone else posts a defamatory comment on their website, they can defend any defamation action if they can show that they:

· were not the author, editor or publisher of the statement complained of;

· they took reasonable care in relation to the defamatory statement’s publication; and

· they did not know, and had no reason to believe, that what they did caused or contributed to the publication of the defamatory statement.

As you can imagine it is almost impossible to ensure that all of the millions of FB users never publish a defamatory statement and it would be very easy for anyone to do this. It is unreasonable to expect FB to become liable for every such statement made. As long as they have a policy prohibiting users to make such comments, which they do, that is a good start to argue that they have no responsibility for rogue actions by their users. Similarly, if the comments were clearly reported as violating their policies, but they took no action to remove them, that could increase any potential liability. However, overall, it is relatively difficult to show they were fully liable alongside the publisher of the comments.

I trust this has answered your query. Please take a second to leave a positive rating by selecting 3, 4 or 5 stars above - this is an important part of our process and recognises the time I have spent assisting you. If you still need me to clarify anything else, please reply on here and I will assist as best as I can. Thank you

Customer: replied 4 months ago.
Is it worth going after author who is a penniless drifter, because damage already could lead to financial ruin of him and myself. Can you ask facebook to put out a retraction

I would say it is mostly pointless to go after the author in the circumstances, especially as defamation claims will cost over £15,000 to pursue and you are guaranteed nothing in return, especially if he ahs no money. Going after Facebook will be difficult too, they will have a very strong legal tam, which can most likely show that there was no liability on their part, but there is no harm in asking them to remove thee statements to limit any further damage

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