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TAS Liable for Defamation?

Discussion in 'Defamation Law Forum' started by derfla pin, 1 September 2016.

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  1. derfla pin

    derfla pin Member

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    Hi everyone,

    I have searched everywhere on the net but cannot find a solution to my issue, so I found this forum and would like to ask for some help.

    I am a member of an online forum, been active for 2.5 years, and there are at least 2 members who have been a part of this forum for many years. They have made it very clear to me by their actions in this forum that they do not want me in there. They have spent a long time trolling my posts (together) all over this forum and deliberately picking out my posts, and posting certain comments about me that are completely untrue, in what I believe to be an attempt by them to deliberately discredit me so the forum admins will eventually ban me. In many cases, I have had to request the forum admins to remove their posts for being personal in nature and not true.

    I will give you an example of one comment that was posted, all others are written in a very similar way.

    "You seem to be posting a lot of comments about those 2 businesses, and I reckon that you are in this forum to promote those businesses, and I dare say that you are being paid by those business to promote them, or you have some kind of personal or business relationship with them to be doing this so many times"

    I know that such a comment is not an outright blatant accusation. It may appear more as simply "Implying" or "Inferring" something about me, but nonetheless, it is untrue content, and I believe that it is throwing back a negative view of me, especially to those members in the forum who may not be familiar with me, and with the way I normally interact within the forum as a very valuable contributor.

    I have also informed the forum staff that if I actually see anyone deliberately make an outright accusation where they state, as a matter of fact, that I am promoting any business for money, or because I am involved with those businesses in any way, that I will be seeking legal advice about it, because I will not tolerate someone accusing me of something that is not true.

    I also want to know whether or not the forum is also legally responsible for allowing members to post comments that may be seen to be harmful or defamatory. Can they also be held liable for defamation if I was to have a case made against another member for any legal action, even though the forum may have a disclaimer that they are not responsible for any content posted by any of its members?

    Any help appreciated....Cheers
     
  2. Rod

    Rod Well-Known Member

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    Quite possibly yes. However you'd need to give them the opportunity to remove offending material before taking action.

    You mention 'harmful' and I assume you mean 'hurt feelings' by this. If so, hurt feelings are not actionable.

    You can take action against the posters as soon as the defamatory material appears, but you should also give them the opportunity to remove all defamatory material asap before commencing action. The legal system wants you to minimise your damages before coming to court.

    If they refuse to comply it adds weight to your case if you are successful.

    You may also have a case for harassment though I'm not sure of harassments laws in Tassie. Harassment laws are mainly state based.
     
  3. derfla pin

    derfla pin Member

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    Well it is harmful to my reputation for sure, and it does hurt my feelings that some people will go to these lengths to try and discredit me, even though they may not realize that what they are writing could be defamatory, as a lot of people in forums actually believe that they are safe, and can say whatever they like, and they get a shock when i have told them that legal action can be taken.

    I cannot understand why I could not bring defamatory action if I felt harmed, or get my feelings hurt. The fact will still remain that they posted a false accusation, or implied something about me that was untrue.

    I would always give someone the first option to remove the offending material, if I was able to contact them. In my case with one member, they had previously sent me a private message containing some rather nasty personal insults, and then blocked me from being able to respond to it, so I reported it to the forum admins. They did nothing about it.

    Anyway, it is not a very nice feeling having people trolling everything you say, especially when both of these people are doing it at the exact same time, and I have raised this several times with the admins, but they shrug it off as being a coincidence.

    Cheers.
     
  4. derfla pin

    derfla pin Member

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    Sorry, I meant to ask if the following comment is actually considered defamatory in some way or another, as the comments made were not true. And I know there is absolutely no way they can prove it, and also, is there some coarse of action that the owners of the 3 businesses concerned could take as well, given these members are making false claims that involve them as well.

    "You seem to be posting a lot of comments about those 2 businesses, and I reckon that you are in this forum to promote those businesses, and I dare say that you are being paid by those business to promote them, or you have some kind of personal or business relationship with them to be doing this so many times"

    Cheers
     
  5. Rod

    Rod Well-Known Member

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    Because it is not actionable under the law of defamation. Your reputation must have been harmed, not your feelings.

    Are you personally identifiable on this forum? If not, you have not been defamed.

    The quote you mentioned above is not necessarily defamatory. Promoting businesses and being paid to do so is a legitimate form of earning money so by itself is probably not actionable. Would depend on what else is said that harms your reputation, not your feelings.

    The above may become defamatory if you specifically deny any involvement and they then accuse you of lying in a subsequent post. Being accused of not being trustworthy may be actionable as it affects your reputation. But you still need to be identifiable as a person, not an online alias.
     
  6. derfla pin

    derfla pin Member

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    No, I am not doing anything that I have been accused of, otherwise, I would not be in here asking, because then I would have nothing to complain about, and they would be telling the truth.

    As far as the forum admins go, once I eventually report these posts, it can take hours for them to be reviewed by them, and they will remove them. They've had many reports that were deleted in the past, but those accusations have already been there for many hours.

    Anyway, thanks for your help.
     

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