It’s very common to take to the Internet when you have a negative experience with a business.
But could you be held liable for what you post online?
When one Dallas couple took to social media to fight a business grievance, it ended up costing them 1.08 million in damages.
It all started more than two years ago over a $125 disagreement between the couple and their wedding photographer. According to the lawsuit filed by the photographer, the couple used their social media platforms and the media as a “smear campaign,” to “destroy” her business.
The charges were defamation, disparagement, and civil conspiracy, and on August 2nd, “A Dallas County jury found… that social media posts made by Neely and Andrew Moldovan against photographer Andrea Polito amounted to defamation.”
It’s enough to give us pause about our own online activity, like Yelp reviews and Facebook posts.
A recent analysis on Yelp reviews found that out of the million studied, “12.8 percent were 1-star reviews.” The analysis also revealed that customers “tend to leave reviews based on their own personal feelings about their experience, rather than through an objective analysis.” This could be interpreted to mean that when reviews are based on emotions and subjective experiences rather than hard facts, they’re likely to have inaccuracies.
But can we be held liable for a negative social media post?
It’s very possible.
According to a Slate.com article, “Whether a person makes a defamatory statement on a blog, in a newspaper, or on Twitter or Facebook, he or she can be held legally liable for it.” Furthermore, even “an email sent to a single person can be libelous.”
There is a distinction between slandering a public or private figure. In regards to public figures, “malice” must be proven, but, “In order to be liable for libel against a private figure, a person must have simply been negligent, which means not acting with a reasonable level of care in making the statement in question.”
Even if our own online behavior is squeaky clean and we’re just posting family photos and funny cat videos, we could be held liable for our kid’s online behavior, too.
Your home insurance can include personal injury, and while it’s not standard on most policies, it can be added on and it includes liability. Another option is to have an umbrella policy for this type of liability protection as it covers everything on the under line.
If you have questions about your current policies or you’d like to learn more about adding an umbrella policy to your existing coverage, please contact Cappuccino Insurance.