Online Defamation - Can you get content removed?
Have you been defamed online? The internet is a powerful tool that makes it easy for businesses and individuals to market themselves and share information with a vast and attentive audience. However, this same tool is often used by disgruntled customers and clients or even competitors, who, whether justified or not, can use such tool to destroy your reputation and spread false and negative information about you and your business to the same vast and attentive audience.
It is safe to say that, even if you advertise on the radio or television or with mailers, billboards or word-of-mouth, most people will Google you to learn more about you and your business. As a result, your reputation and brand is largely dictated by what search engines say about you. So, it is extremely important that you understand how to manage your online reputation to be sure that search engines are only displaying information that you would want the world to see. If you find yourself in the frustrating, and sometimes devastating, situation of having a defamatory, false, or negative post, complaint or article about you floating around the internet and showing up in search engine results, you should speak with a defamation attorney who understands how to remove defamatory content from the internet.
You will find many companies online that offer online reputation services and talk about “burying” negative content. However, just like rust on a car, if you don’t fully remove it, it will always come back. Many websites that provide a format for people to file complaints, report scams or just vent their frustrations actively seek to push their content to the top of search engine results. Many such websites use “spidering” or “web crawling” software to systematically browse the internet and create links to other sites and content to expand their “web” and grow their online presence. So, you can either fight the never-ending battle of trying to bury content that many websites are actively trying to reveal, or you can take the first step to getting negative content removed by talking to a defamation attorney.
While most websites will try to hide behind the Communications Decency Act and will refuse to remove negative or defamatory content, if you are able to obtain a court order for the removal of the defamatory content, you will be able to force websites to remove it. In other words, to effectively remove defamatory content from the internet, or at least from search engine results, you need to initiate a lawsuit and get a judge to sign an order for the content to be removed. It is extremely important that you act quickly and that you do not delay in seeking a court order as the statute of limitations on a defamation claim is typically one year. In other words, you need to file suit within one year of the defamatory content being posted online or you may lose your claim.
So, if you are one of the many individuals or business owners who is being haunted by a pesky or poisonous post or complaint on RipoffReport, ComplaintsBoard, HissingKitty, GripeO, PissedConsumer, Scamero or any other similar website and you are not sure what you can do about it, consult with a defamation attorney who can explain your rights and help you navigate the complex and sometimes difficult process of removing harmful content from the internet.