The price of online defamation: How protecting your online reputation is invaluable

The internet –social media in particular –represents an unprecedented open platform for communication and interaction. While individuals have gained greater scope to exercise their freedom of expression, the online space has also become the front line for the rise of criticism and offence. In the digital media age, the spread of information is wide-reaching and rapid, but one needs to bear in mind that the internet never forgets, so false claims made online can rarely be wiped out and as a result could cause untold damage to an individual’s reputation.

Defamation, also known as libel, is defined as a wrongful act constituting a false statement about an individual, whose reputation is damaged as a result. In cases involving businesses and companies, libel can have serious impact on performance and business indicators.

In the internet age, this is a problem requiring an urgent solution. During a round table hosted by Schillings Partners, a reputation management firm, 93% of attendees agreed that serious claims on the internet should be ignored.

“The instant nature of social media is certainly changing the face of defamation law,” said Ian Birdsey, a senior associate at Pinsent Masons, to the FT. “More and more people use social media to communicate, and often with people beyond their immediate social sphere. All this brings with it a number of challenges — and one of those would appear to be a rise in the number of defamation claims relating to derogatory online posts.”

Addressing the issues of libel and untrue statements, the Defamation Act 2013 came into force to strengthen protective measures for reputation against inappropriate claims. The Act raised the threshold of defamation from ‘substantial’ to ‘serious harm’, increasing the severity of the issue and the damage caused to the reputation of individual libel victims.

The Act has proved effective, as cases of libel have decreased in the UK. According to a research by Thomson Reuters, there were 49 reported defamation cases resulting in a court hearing in the UK over the year to the end of June 2017 , down from 86 three years ago.

Out of the total, 22 percent of the defendants were newspapers, down from 50 percent ten years ago. Despite the decrease, individual claims increased to 43 in 2017, up two on the year before, which perhaps signals that users are as yet unaware of the implications of false claims on social networks.

Paying the price: Costs of defamatory claims affects individuals and corporations

The indiscriminate use of social media can indeed be very expensive for users, who may consider their online behavior benign, but in reality negatively impact someone’s image with their opinion. Back in 2014, Sharon Smith, a fitness instructor, faced legal action by Joanne Walder after posting on her Facebook that Walder had been the perpetrator of acts of violence. Walder claimed more than £20,000 in damages.

A spokesman for Sharon Smith said to the Evening Standard at the time: “The message which prompted the case was only meant to be sent to a close friend. However, it ended up being posted to all her friends — clearly showing the potential pitfalls of Facebook.”

Earlier in April, US first lady Melania Trump won damages from Daily Mail after the paper made allegations that she had worked as an escort. After withdrawing the allegations and publishing an apology, Daily Mail settled the case for $3 million.

In another episode last year, Daily Mail columnist Katie Hopkins was ordered to pay £24,000 in damages to writer and food blogger Jack Monroe after Hopkins attacked her via Twitter.

“It’s been a horrible, stressful experience and I’m so relieved it’s over. There are six ringbinders full of hateful poisonous messages I received, and I’ve had to read and reread them in the course of all this. I’m so glad I’ll never have to read them again,” said Monroe to the Guardian.

The solution: Give subjects the right to reply to the claim

A platform which allows all participants in a story a space to defend themselves, provide their version of the facts and tell their truth would prove invaluable. It is important to guarantee right of reply in the same space so as to not lose relevance and time, which could further intensify any reputation damage.

Right of Reply has a new, innovative solution that empowers individuals to directly control their online reputation. The concept of ‘Right of Reply’ offers individuals the right to respond to any criticism made about them in the same place that the original criticism was published, through its suite of patented search, respond and publish tools.

“We recognise the value of online reputation management and addressing incorrect and defamatory content that can spread easily on the internet. The significant associated legal costs could be saved if there was a tool available to manage replies to erroneous content and statements. RoR has created a revolutionary solution and product for newspapers and online media to circumnavigate the risk of lawsuits by people mentioned in their content. Our aim is to create an online reputation ecosystem for individuals to manage their online reputations in a simple, direct, low-cost and effective way that empowers individuals and at the same time protects online media,” said Stefania Barbaglio, Right of Reply PR and UK Development.

To find out more about Right of Reply’s services, please visit the company website https://rightofreply.news

Right of Reply team will also be attending and presenting at the upcoming Cassiopeia Investor Symposium on the 21 November 2018.

For more information and to register: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/cassiopeia-investor-symposium-tickets-47398735895

Online Reputation Management is on the top list in today hyper connected world

Online presence is practically mandatory these days, for corporations and individuals alike. The complexity of building and preserving an online profile in the wilds of modern social media, as well as the need to manage online reputation, have prompted the surge of a new and fast growing tech market: online reputation management.
As building a reliable and authentic online presence is challenging, time consuming and potentially expensive, corporations and institutions are now also waking up to the importance of protecting their online image. According to Deloitte Global Risk Report, reputation damage is the number one risk concern of business executives across the world — rightly so, as research from Bright Local revealed that 85% of consumers trust online businesses reviews as much as personal recommendations, thus highlighting the urgency with which companies need to act to maintain their online integrity. The need for innovative and effective tools to track and manage online profiles has spurred the growth of an entire industry, called Online Reputation Management (ORM). ORM services are used to positively influence consumers’ perceptions about a product, company, brand or other entity in online media. The relatively young ORM market is indeed growing fast. Consulting firm BIA/ Kelsey estimates that small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in North America spend up to $700m annually on online reputation management tools. “Executives can spend long years developing a strong brand. It can be beyond unsettling to wake up one day and see defamatory remarks appearing online, particularly when the items move beyond constructive criticism to include outrageous accusations and even slanderous or libelous remarks,” said Don Sorensen, president of Big Blue Robot, in an interview to Forbes. One of the main reasons behind this exponential growth of ORM services is the barriers users face when attempting to remove online data. In a Reputation Awareness report, 88% of respondents said that they find it difficult to remove inaccurate information from the internet. On top of that, studies indicate that the dissemination of negative news is a lot more rapid than positive news. Authorities have also felt the pressure to put regulations in place to address and prevent online misconduct. In 2015, the European Commission enacted the “Right to Be Forgotten” law which resulted in millions of pages being deleted from online search engines over the allegations that online results could damage people’s life. Despite efforts from central bodies, private ventures and start-ups are the ones really striving to solve and prevent issues, in particular initiatives deploying the latest technologies to build a stronger, more effective response mechanism. Investment Opportunity: Right of Reply (RoR)
Based in London, with a global network and footprint, Right of Reply (RoR) was born to allow everyone to respond personally and directly in a specific, unequivocal and timely manner to any online content that may affect his/her reputation. RoR is an innovative Social Impact Technology company providing rapid, low-cost, and legally sound solutions, to both individuals and enterprises to manage their reputations. Through its online platforms, RoR ensures anyone’s ability to counter unfair, inaccurate or erroneous content with timeliness and relevance, as well as offering media outlets protection against defamatory lawsuits and preventing spread of fake news. One of the main current challenge is that search engines evolve faster than the tools available on the ORM market. Exploring the use of innovative blockchain technology, RoR is inserting a modern take on the ‘Right of Reply’ — a right granted by British Common Law, to guarantee speed and accuracy. Under the principle of fairness, anyone who has been defamed has the right to reply to that claim in the same location and by the same means as the offender. In the online world, the medium is the “post” and the reply should therefore have the same timeliness and weight as the original post. RoR’s platform works by verifying the identity of the person cited in the original post and reserving a response position for that person, which is pinned to the original post. The blockchain ledger is permanently affixed to the response so that any future changes in the ledger will result in another alert on the ROR profile page of the cited person. Right of Reply has today reported its Audited Results for the period ended June 2018 which show a strong performance during the first half of the year 2018. “I am pleased to report initial positive results. Although they only refer to our first six months of operations, they bode well for the Company’s future as we are establishing RoR as a leading ground-breaking company operating in the online reputation management field, a market with high growth potential. We believe in the importance truth plays in maintaining a free and fair press, so have developed our unique set of management tools for online and real-world reputations,” commented CEO Tom Brooks Right of Reply is preparing for a public Listing. For more information feel free to get in touch with us at: info@cassiopeia-ltd.com

Fast-growing technology company Right of Reply joins Social Enterprise UK

Right of Reply (ROR), the fast-growing technology company with its blockchain-powered online reputation management platform, is pleased to announce its acceptance as a member of the leading national body for social enterprise, Social Enterprise UK. This membership reflects ROR’s important role in and contribution to supporting social justice by maintaining free press and fair media by providing management tools for online and real-world reputations.

Furthermore, Right of Reply’s largest shareholder, ATD Caritas, is a registered charity and its Articles of Association provide that 10% of its net profit, before the distribution of any dividends, will be donated to authorised charities.

Social Enterprise UK works to build a fairer and more equal society through solid partnerships with some of the biggest companies and institutions in the UK and worldwide. Social Enterprise UK partners with a variety of the UK’s leading organisations, both within the corporate and public sectors, as well as international bodies. Some of their partners include the British Council, World Bank, Johnson & Johnson and the NHS, among others.

Preserving online reputation is a growing concern for individuals, companies and authorities, as access to the internet and widespread use of social media become more intrinsic to the contemporary lifestyle of people all across the globe. Initiatives to prevent reputation damage and tackle its consequences have never been more necessary.

“It is an honour to be accepted as a member of a prestigious social organisation such as Social Enterprise UK, in our mission to empower individuals to take control over their online reputations and content. The right of reply is a legitimate right granted by law, yet exercising this right is difficult, time consuming and expensive. Even when exercised, the reply tends to come too late to have sufficient impact on balancing out the damaging content. It is important that every individual is in a position to reply to any kind of online content in an easy, timely and cost-effective manner proportionate to the wrong or misleading content,” commented Right of Reply CEO, Tom Brooks.

“Right of Reply was founded as an ethical company dedicated to providing individuals with an easy way to exercise their right of reply, whether to counter biased reporting in the press, trolling on social media or incomplete or inaccurate credit reports”, Brooks added. ”RoR was created as a force for fairness and social good, so we’re delighted to have been recognised by and accepted as a member of Social Enterprise UK.”

About Right of Reply

Right of Reply is an innovative Social Impact Technology company providing rapid, low-cost, and legally sound solutions, to both individuals and enterprises to manage their reputations. Through its online platforms, RoR ensures anyone’s ability to counter unfair, inaccurate or erroneous content with timeliness and relevance, as well as offering media outlets protection against defamatory lawsuits.RoR offers platforms for regulated media via RoR News, products for Credit Check and Credit Score via RoCC, and services for Digital Identity, Social Media and KYC via its innovative DApp, powered by Blockchain technology, RoRKEY.