How Not to Get Sued for Online Libel
As we’ve seen with Neri Naig recently being issued an arrest warrant for violating Republic Act No. 10175 or the Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012, simply reposting something online could already be used against you in court. Aiming to raise awareness and to be more responsible netizens, here is our 5 best advice not to get sued for online libel.
1. Avoid reposting out of emotions
When you scroll through your news feed and see someone’s post ranting about bogus sellers or a dead mice found in a coffee drink (no matter how shocking it may seem), try to first know the authenticity of the story and don’t be overly-emotional and repost without knowing first the entire truth about it.
If we were one of those to repost negative things and it turns out that there’s no truth to the issue, then legal action is likely to come our way.
2. Attack ideas, not people
If you feel the need to criticize online, try to attack ideas and not people directly. Say, “That is a stupid idea”. Not, “You are stupid”. Basically, lessen trash-talking and don’t their mothers in the topic.
3. Use safe words
If you have to blog or report a post of someone, use safe words such as “allegedly” or “reportedly”. This way, you cannot be held liable for disclosing unverified ideas or issues as you’re just merely informing the public of the currently presented facts.
4. Try to remain anonymous
Elements of libel include an identifiable target, identifiable culprit, and motive to malign or destroy the reputation. If you use an alias or be anonymous, one or two of the elements are missing and cannot be pursued with legalities.
5. If in doubt, don’t
Lastly, if you’re not sure whether what you’ll say online will have consequences, it’s sometimes better to not post or reply to anything at all. You can simply Like the post if you agree or you just want to show sympathy to your friend. After which, you can scroll past it and move on with your life without being involved in any issue.
Got any bits of advice that could save anyone from being sued for online libel? Feel free to contribute in the comments section below.