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Defamation and Social Tools


You see it every day...a total lapse of sanity in the face of today's social media's tools.  The most common surface around people free use of Facebook to vent or just record what occurred on a really bad Friday night as if on one outside their close friends will see it.  Even with the stories in the press (online that is) about someone not getting a job because of a racial rant on their profile or people being caught in affairs due to their online dialog with "friends", people keep doing it.  Just because the communication tool (in this case, social media) is new, doesn't mean the general rules of conduct between people has changed.  They haven't for the most part in 100's if not 1000's of years so throwing the word digital in front of a statement doesn't mean that it exists in a separate universe with fantastic new properties of social physics.  This holds true for Defamation of character.  Let's first take a look at meaning of this to oft used word and see how it pertains to social tools like the Zipper local news and local gossip app.

First, what is defamation or defamation of character?  In layman's terms, defamation of character is to cause harm to come to another's person's personal or professional reputation with incorrect and harmful characterizations.  Basically, you're telling lies about a person that makes them look bad.  There are many examples you could use such as spreading a rumor about the dealings of another person.  The advent of the internet has made all forms of communication easier than this also applies to negative uses of this new found freedom.  Rumors run amok online both at a local and national level.  Some are true while others would definitely fall under the auspices of defamation of character.  Just because the message is online doesn't mean the local rules regarding such behavior as defamation no longer holds true.  That's where people get in trouble...thinking that the rules offline no longer apply to message online. 

The internet with all of it's means of information transmission such as smart phone apps like the local news tool the Zipper are even more precarious if you plan on spreading harmful information.  There's a full record for anyone to read of your posts with social media tools.  It's all right there in full glory.  There's no hiding or saying that you meant something else.  If you use social tools to defame another person, you're practically creating the court transcript with your posts.  On the Zipper local news and local gossip app, there's a way to make a post "anonymous" by checking this option during the posting process.  Even this isn't protection if you're using the Zipper to defame another person.  There are laws against defamation and the Zipper must ultimately obey the laws of the land.  If law enforcement or a court of law requires the information relating to a given post, we must provide it as dictated by the law.  The anonymous button does not protect your identity if you intend to break laws anymore than a fictitious profile will protect you on other social websites.  Ultimately, emails are linked back to people who break laws and defamation is no different.  So what do we recommend?

Play it safe.   The Zipper is an awesome tool to get real-time local news and local gossip in your area all at the touch of your phone.  There's so much cool stuff that you can do with it...why take it there to the point where it becomes defamation.  It's not worth the potential fallout and legal complications for those that defame others with online social media tools.  Can't we all just get along?



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