What do you do when you see yourself defamed online?

Nilanjana Bose/ CNN-IBM

Published on Thu, Feb 19, 2009 at 01:20 in Sci-Tech section

New Delhi: We have come to see rather innovative uses of this relatively new medium called social networking sites, from home loan defaulters getting summons posted on their facebook accounts to being informed of your change in marital status online, what do you do when you see yourself demafed online?

Thirty-five-year-old Emma Brady thought her six year old marriage was fine till she found out from her husband’s status on facebook that all wasn’t well. Their marriage ended – and in a way created history – by becoming the first divorce on facebook.

Social networking sites have been the bearer of bad news in the past as well. Carmel Corbo and Gordon Poyser in Canberra in Austalia owed a lending institution more than 100 thousand dollars. The company after failing to reach them at their house chose a far less conventional approach – They sent a notice to the couple via facebook.

Law Institute of Victoria Tony Burke says, “Well it’s a very interesting development, it shows in Australia, our courts are flexible and adaptable and willing to embrace new technologies, but I guess there are messages for those who choose to have a presence on facebook, you are liable to be found.”

There have been numerous cases of people being defamed on social networking sites, of groups being set up against well known faces. Blogs and social netoworking sites often use the freedom of expression to vent and be nasty. But what is wrong with that.

While the law is grainy when it comes to online defamation – cyber lawyers say…there is a way you can defend yourself.

Cyber lawyer Karnika Seth says, “You can file a complaint against the person who has filed the case and if they still don’t take off the offending stuff then the police can be involved.

But while the debate ranges on about freedom of speech and expression, for the moment its open season on social networking sites