Facebook defamation

Have you been defamed on Facebook?

Being defamed on Facebook is horrible.

You should consider issuing a concerns notice and commencing a Court case, in order to protect your reputation.

A previous decision

In 2014 the District Court of Western Australia handed down a decision, finding in favour of a plaintiff in a Facebook defamation case.

In Dabrowski -v- Greeuw [2014] WADC 175 the facts were that:

  1. The parties were a separated husband and wife.
  2. In December 2012 the defendant (the wife) posted on her public Facebook page an entry saying 'separated from Miro Dabrowski after 18 years of suffering domestic violence and abuse. Now fighting the system to keep my children safe'. 
  3. The Judge found she had admitted that she posted the Facebook post. 
  4. It was removed 4 months later, in February 2013.

At [183] the Judge stated:

To say that a person has for 18 years subjected their partner to domestic violence and abuse and that their children need to be kept safe from that person, tends to diminish the esteem in which that person is held by the community and/or diminish his standing in some respect and would lead an ordinary reasonable person to think lesser of that person and is defamatory.

The Judge decided that:

[248] Pursuant to s 7 of the Defamation Act, Mr Dabrowski is not required to prove special damages. Section 34 of the Act requires that any damage awarded have an appropriate and rational relationship to the harm actually suffered. The damages must be realistic.
[249] I have found that Mr Dabrowski was defamed. Mr Dabrowski has not claimed any consequential financial loss. Damages are appropriate.

The Judge award the plaintiff (the husband) $12,500, as well as interest on that money and also his legal costs.

The takeaways from the case

  1. We should not feel powerless or in a weak bargaining position when someone defames us on Facebook, because it is realistic to go to Court over it.
  2. You should hire lawyers like me, who are conscious of the realities of legal costs (and) who will manage the case so that decisions are made along the way that maximise the recovery of legal costs from the other side.