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How To Combat Online Defamation in 2021

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    In today’s digital atmosphere, it has become unfortunately common for misinformation and defamation to spread online. According to Cornell Law School, defamation is a statement that causes injury to a third party’s reputation.

    Online defamation can be extremely harmful to those targeted. The web and social media often amplify claims to dangerous levels. Search engines aren’t obligated to validate information, and some websites exist to host defaming content. However, there are solutions for those targeted by online defamation.

    What is Online Defamation?

    Defamation is a damaging statement that harms the reputation of a business or individual. There are two types of defamation—libel, and slander. For statements made online through posts, libel is typically the correct term.

    Defamation is a tort, which is a civil wrong for which the courts may hold someone liable. Basically, it means that while an individual wouldn’t be arrested for defamation, they could be sued and held liable for their words. However, it’s important to understand that the truth is considered an absolute defense to a defamation claim. So, if the content or statement is accurate, it is not defamatory.

    The nature of the internet and the rise of social media provides a platform for some to make untrue claims which others may quickly share and “like,” causing harm to the person being targeted by the claims. Some people use the anonymity of the internet to leave (intentionally or accidentally) defamatory posts or other content.

    Because search engines don’t check individual content pieces for accuracy or validity, defamatory content could potentially end up ranking highly on a search engine. Some websites thrive from posters who log on to make defamatory statements about people and businesses, which could also potentially rank on a SERP. Before they know it, a person targeted by online defamation may have their reputation ruined, and their professional life put in jeopardy, not to mention the strain and stress on their personal life.

    However, there are solutions for those who have been victimized by online defamation. Whether it’s untrue content on a forum or blog, social media posts, or false reviews, there are ways to combat defamation.

    Where Defamation Can Occur

    Defamation can occur across multiple platforms online. This is of the utmost concern for businesses and especially high-profile individuals. Once the content is published, it may immediately cause damage to a person’s character or business reputation.

    Revenge or defamation-focused websites exist to publish comments, blogs, and posts from third parties with the intention of causing harm to a person or business. These sites don’t fact check, nor do they have any concern about whether or not the content is accurate.

    Review platforms are another way that people can quickly and easily spread false allegations and defame the character of a business. Fake reviews are a continuously growing cause of concern for business owners. Whether it’s an unruly customer, competitors attempting to damage the brand, or disgruntled employee, fake reviews can be the difference between a customer choosing your business or your competitor.

    Now more than ever, potential clients and customers are doing a quick web search to comparison shop or find out more about local businesses before visiting a physical location. A whopping 93 percent of consumers read reviews of local businesses to help them make a shopping decision. In fact, 88 percent trust online reviews just as much as a personal recommendation. With review sites impacting businesses across virtually all industries, it’s crucial to ensure that no false information reaches future customers.

    In addition to revenge sites and review platforms, social media is also notorious for becoming an echo chamber of false information and potentially damaging content. Defamation can root from social media posts or be amplified tremendously through the ability to share information and even have it go viral in a matter of minutes. When harmful content isn’t discovered and addressed timely, it typically continues to get worse. It can potentially be picked up by larger publications and linked or spun into another story that could paint an even more negative picture.

    Permanently Remove Online Defamation

    The best way to combat online defamation is to have it permanently removed from the internet. While many believe that nothing is truly “gone” from the web, negative content can actually be removed from the internet. Removing harmful content can help prevent a minor issue from becoming a larger crisis, and it also helps protect the reputation of brands and individuals.

    Reputable companies in the field of online content removal are world leaders in this area. They are laser-focused on protecting their clients from online defamation and other damaging content by removing said content from the internet.

    Remember, you should never pay for internet removals that are unsuccessful. Some companies prey on people’s desperation to remove negative content. Still, industry leaders in this field will never charge you unless the removal is successful, so there’s no additional risk to you. Online defamation causes more damage the longer it stays on the web, becoming more and more visible on Google’s search results pages, so it’s essential to address it as quickly as possible.

    How Does It Work?

    These companies have teams of paralegals and removal experts who put together strong cases for the removal of the content in question. By knowing who to contact and how to reach them, these companies use their industry contacts to fight for the removals on their clients’ behalf. If necessary, they’ll use legal resources to get the job done without any further expense to the client. In the rare case that removals aren’t successful, there are other solutions to help combat defamation.

    Positive Reputation Management

    On occasion, a publication may refuse to remove content. In those cases, there are alternative options to combat online defamation and push it so far down on a SERP that it’s essentially buried from view. Positive reputation management is essential in today’s world. A recent study found that 97 percent of certain business owners and operators agreed that online reputation management is important to their business.

    By using SEO strategies and publishing high-quality content on high-domain authority sites, positive reputation management helps to ensure that when a customer or client searches for your business, they won’t find harmful content.

    This is essential when companies risk losing as much as 22 percent of business if their potential customers find just one negative article on the first page of search results. Positive reputation management allows you to rewrite your online narrative and bury online defamation from your current and potential clients’ view.

    By creating or optimizing a website, creating a professional blog, securing features in high-authority news articles, managing your online reviews, and using backlinking and SEO strategies, any negative content can be suppressed under a significant amount of positive content. With professional content creators and expert SEO technicians, businesses can spearhead their campaigns to combat damaging content and online defamation.

    Often, companies employ SEO and other techniques alongside removal strategies to permanently delete negative online content while simultaneously creating new, positive content. Not only does this eliminate the issues associated with false and harmful content, but it also provides new ways for your company to rank better in search results and potentially earn new clients or customers.

    Pursuing positive reputation management on the front-end is often a better strategy than removing negative content on the back-end. Not to mention, useful content on the web is a way to help drive additional traffic to the business online and in person.

    Don’t Wait to Protect Your Reputation

    The potential for defamation and negative online content is a greater danger to individuals and businesses than ever before. Not only are there more platforms and means to post harmful content, but posts and reviews can also be shared and potentially go viral in minutes. If your character or reputation has been damaged by online defamation, there are solutions available to you right now to help you regain control over your digital footprint.