VIC Facebook Defamation

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YVB

Member
1 August 2020
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0
1
Hi, seeking an opinion here. Any responses are taken as opinion only, merely looking for some guidance!

I have and am the administrator of a closed, private group on Facebook (example: XXXXX Example Group Disappointed Landlords). I have been threatened with defamation papers.
Given the group was established as a support group for those disappointed with the actions of the company in question to find others of a like mind who are also experiencing difficulty with the company, all posts are private and can only be seen by members, all posts are monitored to ensure individuals are not named and no derogatory comments are made, it is not intended to defame or harm the operating of the company and the use of the words 'disappointed landlords' are intended to convey exactly that - as a group, we collectively are disappointed with the actions and performance of said company...would this be deemed defamatory?

It seems to me the use of the word 'disappointed' is quite soft and tame so the company is being quite sensitive. Also, as it is a statement of fact (we are disappointed!), this would meet the criteria of being non-defamatory.

Interested in your thoughts!

Thanks all,
 

Rod

Lawyer
LawTap Verified
27 May 2014
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Truth is an absolute defence to defamation as is opinion if it is clearly expressed as opinion and not fact.
 

YVB

Member
1 August 2020
2
0
1
Thanks for a very swift reply there Rod!

So...as the members of the group, can prove they are disappointed with the 'service' provided by the company, as evidenced by complaints regarding damage to property, property inspections not completed (the company is both the managing agent and the tenant; it sublets the property), damage to property not advised to landlords, email communications, breach notices served on company, applications to VCAT & Small Business Commission Victoria, etc, it's fairly safe to say 'disappointed landlords' is absolutely true?

If so, it would appear there's not really a case to answer here and there's a strong defence. Fairly certain the threat of defamation papers is also another bullying attempt by the company.
 

Rod

Lawyer
LawTap Verified
27 May 2014
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920
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Fairly certain the threat of defamation papers is also another bullying attempt by the company.
Quite likely, keeping in mind I can only go by what you have posted above.