My husband of several decades did not even look up from reading. Our offspring let out a “Go for it, mom!” which startled our guest even more. When I turned around I saw the poor thing looking at me wide-eyed and clearly not certain whether to ask any questions.
Of course, I was not plotting an evil plan to eliminate someone from this world. I was merely protecting my salmon-pasta dish from a fly. But, it made me think about sentences and how, if taken out of context, can give someone a false impression of what is going on.
Taking one sentence out of context, adding speculation to it, or combining it with a completely unrelated fact are things we should not do but they happen all the time. As a blogger, you are under a duty of care to make sure this does not happen on your site.
A recent court decision in a Florida case determined that “a blogger is a member of the media for the purposes of defamation law.”
From Gigaom: “The court went on to say that the term blog typically refers to a site operated by a single individual or a small group that has primarily an informational purpose, most commonly in an area of special interest, knowledge or expertise — and one which usually provides for public impact or feedback. Based on this, the decision states, “it appears clear that many blogs and bloggers will fall within the broad reach of media, and, if accused of defamatory statements, will qualify as a media defendant.”
What does this mean? Like Natasha said in plain English: “remember, you are responsible for any defamatory material written by someone else on your site.” Your blog is your house. Keep it clean!
- Don’t take people’s sentences out of context.
- Don’t knowingly combine or try to tie two unrelated events together.
- Always credit others for their work with a simple link.
- Check your comments for anything that might fall under defamation laws as you are responsible. The comment may have been written by someone else but it is published on your blog.
There is much more to defamation but these are the basics that every newbie blogger must keep in mind.