26 Aug, 2011

Social media causes ‘dramatic’ rise in defamation online

The Guardian has reported that new research has shown that social media has triggered a significant increase in cases of online defamation, by more than double over the last year.  

The research, from legal information provider Sweet & Maxwell, showed that the amount of UK cases claiming online defamation increased from seven to 16 last year, and that there was a rise of 4 per cent  in the total number of defamation proceedings, going from 83 to 86.

However, the findings are perhaps not a surprise to the legal world; Sweet & Maxwell reportedly said that legal experts had predicted a ‘dramatic jump’ in online defamation following the arrival of social networking sites such as Twitter and Facebook, according to The Guardian.

Libel lawyer Korieh Duodu, of Addleshaw Goddard, said that one reason for the increase was the fact that a large portion of material online was written by ‘non-professionals without any of the fact-checking that should take place within traditional media organisations.’

Turning to the regulatory issues around the issue, he added: “There is certainly a need for greater accountability of the providers of user generated content; a need to tighten the regulatory framework within which they operate. This ought to have been a focus of the proposed Defamation bill currently being debated,” The Guardian reported.

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