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Online Defamation Cases Double Under Social Media Influence

The number of internet related defamation cases has doubled thanks to the rise of social networking platforms like Facebook and Twitter.

According to the data compiled by legal information firm Sweet and Maxwell, internet related libel cases had increase to 16 in the year ended May 31, from 6 the year before.

Meanwhile, the total number of defamation cases brought before courts rose to 86 from 83 last year. Many journalists rely on information available in online media like Facebook and Twitter, increasing the risk of defamation as the news appear on national news sources.

Experts like Barrister Korieh Duodu of law firm Addleshaw Goddard, believe that people who are writing online do less research than media organisations, leaving room for error. "People who find themselves damaged on social media sites can often find it time-consuming and difficult to have the offending material removed, because many platform providers do not accept responsibility for their users' content," Duodu said.

"Such is the speed at which information travels through social networks that one unchecked comment can spread into the mainstream media within minutes, which can cause irreparable damage to the subject who has been wronged." he added, commenting on the rise of defamation cases.