Oakland, CA asked in Libel & Slander and Personal Injury for California

Q: What can be done when someone falsely accuses and defames another person on a proxy’s instagram posts and stories?

Someone coerced and overtly stimulated to say things in the form of texts and thereafter the private conversation was falsely forwarded to those who were not even associated. Smear campaign using proxies and false accusations alongside name shaming, all done cryptically using instagram stories and posts. Causing emotional distress, shame and anxiety in social circles and disconnecting from instagram. What can be done? Need a lawyer.

2 Lawyer Answers
James L. Arrasmith
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  • Sacramento, CA
  • Licensed in California

A: Under California law, if someone is falsely accusing you and defaming your character through Instagram posts and stories, there are legal avenues you can explore. Defamation involves making false statements about someone to a third party, which then causes harm to the person's reputation. If these statements are written, as is the case with Instagram posts and stories, it is considered libel, which is a form of defamation.

First, it's advisable to document all the instances of defamation: take screenshots of the posts, stories, and any other relevant communications. This evidence is crucial for any legal action you might take.

You may consider sending a cease and desist letter to the individual making these false accusations. This letter is a formal request for them to stop their defamatory behavior immediately. While this is not a legal requirement, it can be a practical first step to resolve the issue without going to court.

If the defamation continues, you can file a lawsuit against the person making these statements. In a defamation case, you would need to prove that the statements were false, made to a third party, and caused you harm. California law also recognizes defamation per se, where certain statements are considered so damaging that the law presumes harm to the plaintiff's reputation, eliminating the need to prove actual harm in some cases.

Given the complexity of defamation law and the nuances of proving your case, consulting with a lawyer is essential. A lawyer can help you understand your legal options, guide you through the process of collecting evidence, and represent you in any legal proceedings.

It's also worth noting that platforms like Instagram have policies against harassment and can remove content that violates their guidelines. Reporting the defamatory posts to Instagram could result in their removal and possibly the suspension of the accounts spreading the defamation.

Tim Akpinar
Tim Akpinar
  • Little Neck, NY

A: What can be done? One option is to try to line up a free initial consult with an attorney who handles defamation cases. It's important to keep in mind that such cases might not be handled on a contingency basis, which could mean attorney fees, win or lose. Good luck

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