Defamation on websites
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What to do if you have been defamed on the internet
The ability to list web pages on the top page of the search results for a long period of time is normally a result of either excellent workmanship or an unintended, random consequence of Google algorithms. Names of individuals and companies are easy targets for the purpose of defamation on websites or even just to cause someone reputational, emotional or financial harm.
Perpetrators of online defamation, and particularly defamation on websites, often purchase domain names, which carry the names of their victim. They then use social media accounts, sometimes under their victim's name, to create blogs and blog posts, which also display the name of their victim to cause maximum reputational damage. This way, they make it very easy for Google to display the defamatory search results about the victim on the top of the search pages. This process is called search engine optimisation or black hat SEO" and it can be used to devastate the victim's life. It might involve impersonation and breach of privacy certainly involve the posting of fake and false posts about the victim.
In some cases, the information published about the victim of defamation is not necessarily false, or to be more precise, is not completely false. True information can be equally damaging to one's reputation and may affect the victim's ability to obtain employment or progress their personal and business lives.
Sometimes a half-truth is worse than a lie. A half truth can create an impression about something which may be considered defamatory. What is important, particularly in cases of defamation on websites, is the meaning of the words, the article or the website rather than whether the published content includes some truths or half-truths. It is, therefore, possible to post half-truths which are considered defamatory.
Under Section 5 of the Defamation Act 1996 the limitation period to being a claim for defamation is 12 months from the date of the first publication of each post you are complaining about. You can still bring a claim for defamation even if you have missed the limitation period of 12 months and your claim will not be automatically rejected.
It is, however, open for the defendant to raise the limitation period as an issue, and the burden will then be on you, to request dispensation from the court. Time is of the essence when it comes to repairing damaged internet reputation and the recovery process can take some time to complete. If you are facing defamation on websites, each day of inaction makes the job of reputation restoration even more challenging.
Even when bad pages have been appearing undisturbed at the top of the search results for some time, it is still important to act fast to remove them. Each day that goes by helps to cement the high position of the defamatory websites on the top of Google search results. Any delay in taking action to remove defamation on websites is likely to make it harder for you to obtain appropriate court orders to help you remove the defamation from the internet. Those court orders can take some time to obtain and enforce so speed is of the essence.