Can you sue someone for defamation following a social media post?

13th February 2024

In principle, yes. When someone publishes untrue material online that adversely affects another person’s reputation, they could be found liable for defamation.

The term defamation covers libel and slander.

In this article, we look at how to deal with defamatory posts and false accusations on social media and how to sue for libel or slander.

Forms of libel

Libel refers to more permanent forms of publication. Examples include written publications in newspapers, within emails, and on social networking sites, such as Facebook, LinkedIn, X (formerly Twitter), Threads, or on discussion forum sites, such as Reddit or Quora. Libel also includes broadcast content and therefore posts contained in short-form video-based social media, such as on TikTok, Instagram Reels, YouTube Shorts, and Snapchat can all be the subject of a defamation claim.

Famous examples of social media libel include Jack Monroe’s claim against Katie Hopkins in 2017, following defamatory tweets made by Hopkins, and Rebekah Vardy’s defamation claim against Coleen Rooney following Rooney’s post shared on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter. Rooney’s defence that her post was true was successful and the claim against her was unsuccessful.

What to do

In short, defamation claims can arise from posts shared on all forms of social media. People can broadcast to widespread audiences instantaneously and the on-the-go nature of modern social media means that posts are natural and unguarded. It is therefore increasingly important to understand the potential consequences of posting online content, and to be aware of what action you can take if you become a victim of social media defamation.

We regularly assist victims of online defamation and abuse, not only in bringing a claim, but by helping with managing the reputational damage caused as a result, through litigation and practical measures. If you would like more information or advice on defamation, please contact the Blake Morgan Commercial Litigation team.

Litigation & Dispute Resolution specialist lawyers

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