Facebook Libel.

A judgment in default after a failure to file and serve a defence was given in the High Court for libel in respect of a posting on a Facebook account, which pages had been on a private setting.

Sharon Smith, a fitness instructor, posted an untrue message about Joanne Walder on her private Facebook wall. She had intended to send as a message to one of her friends but her mistake meant that it could be seen by her 300 friends. Her sister then reposted this message so that it was visible to all of her 650 connections. That meant that 950 people had the potential to see the defamatory statements.

The fact that her own Facebook settings were set to private did not prevent there being a publication or offer any defence.

It has been reported in the press that Joanne Walder has claimed a sum of more than £20,000 for damages from Sharon Smith. However, the hearing to assess the damages and costs has still to be to be heard, and it is not known whether the Defendant will apply now to have the judgment set aside, so speculation as to the amount of damages is premature.

Whatever you post on Facebook be aware that it is a publication and just because it’s Facebook does not mean it’s not going to land you in trouble.

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