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ItalianPrincess1217's avatar

Can anything be done about Facebook slander?

Asked by ItalianPrincess1217 (11973points) October 30th, 2011 from iPhone

At this point in my life I shouldn’t have to be dealing with such ridiculous drama. But I am. Unfortunately my s/o’s family has no part of our lives or our new baby’s life. We are going to keep it that way for many reasons. We keep to ourselves and mind our business. I was told by a mutual friend to check out a post on his sister’s Facebook, so I did. We aren’t friends but her wall was public. To my surprise, there was a very long post all about me. In this post she made horrible statements about me, my baby, and her brother that were completely untrue. She wrote my full name on this post and went on to tell the Facebook world that I was going to get beat up, that I’m disgusting, ugly, I smell, and our son isn’t her brother’s son. Apparently I also have lots of STD’s. I know what you’re probably thinking. Ignore her. She’s clearly immature and bored. But this is honestly starting to consume my life. All we want is to be happy and left alone. We have an event in 2 weeks that I’m actually afraid to go to because his sister’s live very close by and if they find out the location it’s likely they’d show up and start trouble. I should not have to be concerned about my safety! Yes, all the awful remarks about me being ugly and diseased hurt my feelings but the threats aren’t as easy to forget. My question is, can anything be done? For a very long time I have ignored the problems they have caused us over the past few months but now my full name is on Facebook with a lot of false statements and threats. Isn’t this considered slander? Or harassment? How can I make this end? Police? Court? Please help.

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32 Answers

LKidKyle1985's avatar

I’m not a lawyer or a cop or anything like that, but depending in what state you live in and the laws, the threat of violence is typically considered harassment and is actually a crime.
I mean, someone saying “im gonna kill you!!!” in the midst of an argument or something would be brushed off and not to be worried about. However, if someone continually says things like, oh you better watch your back, you know we are gonna mess you up, texts you, puts posts on facebooks about your impending ass beating then yeah you might have a better case. Best thing to do would ask a lawyer or prosecutor or someone familiar with the law business.

whitetigress's avatar

You can flag anything and everything on Facebook. Also, you can delete your Facebook friends, furthermore you can block Facebook people. Or just delete it all together.

Afos22's avatar

Report her on Facebook. More effective than taking it up with the police, she will really get the message when her facebook account is suspended.

ItalianPrincess1217's avatar

@whitetigress I’m not her friend. So I’m not sure that I can flag anything. A mutual friend informed me about her post. That’s how I discovered it. The fact that people are coming to me and telling me upsets me even more.

@Afos22 She has 3 different accounts so it might be difficult to explain to Facebook which one she’s threatening me on.

Bellatrix's avatar

I am not sure what the answer to your question is @ItalianPrincess1217 but it is certainly a problem anyone could face given the rise of social networking sites. I hope one of our jellies with some legal experience will be able to advise you and I hope this is resolved soon. Try not to let it stress you (although I realise that is probably quite impossible).

ANef_is_Enuf's avatar

It’s also against Facebook’s policy to have more than one account, so it wouldn’t be hard to get all of them suspended.

ANef_is_Enuf's avatar

Take screenshots of what she has written, also.

ItalianPrincess1217's avatar

@ANef_is_Enuf I took the screen shots. I wonder if there’s a email address for Facebook that I can explain the situation to and let them know about her 3 accounts also.

Response moderated (Writing Standards)
Jeruba's avatar

Libel is malicious and defamatory statements made in written form.

Slander is the same, in speech rather than in writing.

I am not a qualified legal advisor. This is information I obtained from the web.

Both are against the law in the U.S. Note that this is a category that is automatically assumed to cause harm to the subject of the statements:

• Allegations that a person is infected with a sexually transmitted disease

But the linked article contains some cautions about trying to take action.

Ask your friend to save the page on which these statements are posted. The HTML page, complete with all files, will show that she did post these libelous statements. You could consider consulting a lawyer and asking him or her to write this person a letter.

whitetigress's avatar

She won’t start trouble at your event. If she does end up trying to crash you can call the police on her. “In this post she made horrible statements about me, my baby, and her brother that were completely untrue” If it’s untrue who cares. Unfortunately public slander falls under free speech laws. It’s not harrassment because she’s not contacting you. Slander is much more complex, for instance if a news paper publishes that a teenager crashed into a store while pregnant (but she wasnt pregnant), she could sue the news paper for slander. Slander has to serve as an entity which is looked up to upon with integrity. The best way to go upon this is to call your local police dept. (Not 911) And ask the police man (because an actual police man/women will pick up) what you can do about this situation. My advice to you is to move away from that town. There’s nothing worse than having to feel threatened and hated where you make a living.

ANef_is_Enuf's avatar

At the bottom left side of their page, under their friends, will be an option to report/block. If you click that you can report the profile as fake. Which is close enough. Facebook will most likely send her a message, asking to verify each account with a cell phone number to prove that each account is a real, separate person.. and if she is unable to do that, they will most likely disable the accounts.

whitetigress's avatar

and what @ANef_is_Enuf said, once you click the report/block you can report harassment/bullying

facebook deals very seriously with cyber anything

ANef_is_Enuf's avatar

Yes, that too.

ItalianPrincess1217's avatar

@whitetigress She does contact me but I can’t prove it’s her. It’s a blocked number.

choreplay's avatar

@ItalianPrincess1217 I wish I had time to write everything I know about this, most of the post above are scratching the surface. I went through this and it is very complex. Facebook and Google have been given special imunity by congress about such matters so unless you push it you will be like someone crying into the abyss. Facebook is very difficult to get through to. You may get lucky and they may respond to you flagging this content, or getting someone else to flag it. facebook does have rules about not allowing personal attacks or multiple pages but in the name of not censoring are often slow to act in these situations. Facebook is very difficult to get through to but somewhere in my email archives I have a very specific link that utimately proved to be effective. Give me a day or two and I will get it to you.

This is libel but you can’t do anything about it till it causes you damage, backwards isn’t it. Google scans facebooks public content and will eventually catelog it, so when someone googles you this will come up. Than its a whole other process to get google to re-index the page when it is down off of facebook. I had already sat down with an attorney when my situation resolved itself. I suggest you seek legal help, given the facebook false accusations and the threats.

What she is doing is a form of stalking and you can legally get her called on that. Hope some of this helps.

AshlynM's avatar

Facebook really can’t be blamed for cyber bullying. What people do and say on any social networking site is their own doing. The obvious answers are to either ignore, block and report her. Worse case, call the police. Be sure to save any further communication from her.

There’s no use worrying about something in advance unless it happens. You can’t let other people control or instill fear in you. Show this person you are not afraid of her and that her actions and comments don’t bother you in the least. Bullies thrive on fear and anger. If they see that you’re bothered by them, that just adds fuel to the fire.

Seaofclouds's avatar

First thing I would do is report it to Facebook. If Facebook doesn’t have it removed or if it continues again once removed, then I would report it to the police. Yes it may seem silly to get the police involved, but cyber bullying is becoming a much bigger issue these days and it’s starting to be taken a lot more seriously in most states. The screen shots and saved URL’s will help some.

As far as the event coming up. Go and have fun. Ignore and avoid her. If she comes up to you or starts anything, call the police and let them deal with it.

marinelife's avatar

@whitetigress Slander is verbal. Libel is written. What you said is not correct about newspapers.

I would think that posting on facebook constitutes libel. I would contact an attorney who can write a cease and desist letter to her and to Facebook.

JLeslie's avatar

I would flag it to facebook, but as some have mentioned facebook generally sucks at responding to things. I think I might ask your SO to give her a call and tell her to stop, tell her he can’t believe how many people call to tell him all the crap she says about you, and he is tired of trying to defend his sister when everyone is laughing at her and saying what a small, petty, mean girl she is being. Make the bitch feel as small as possible so maybe she will stop. He could add a little bit of how he will not tolerate his SO or child being talked about in a negative fashion, and that she must stop or he will do something to make her stop. Or, you can ignore it and hope she gets tired.

JLeslie's avatar

About the event. If she shows up she will look like an idiot. If she shows up you can get a court order that she cannot come within a certain amount of feet of you, a restraining order. I think it might include verbal contact not sure? If she breaks it she goes to jail. Document everything. Save screens, take photos, etc.

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Judi's avatar

I had a friend who started a page to warn people about an abusive “Children’s dentist.” Lots of people posted their horror stories and facebook pulled it down. I’m sure they could pull down a post about threats to do harm.

tedd's avatar

Meh…. frankly I say let the ignorant be ignorant.

You only let her win by letting her bother you.

The people who matter, will know she’s lying. The people who believe her, probably don’t matter.

Judi's avatar

Purely adolescent crap, but my niece put an unflattering picture of a girl who slept with her BF (family drama that I avoid) and the police actually showed up at her door and wouldn’t leave until she took the picture off her wall. If they were willing to do that you would think that they would be willing to address threats of violence. Cyber bullying is the new buzz word. Cops don’t want to be accused of ignoring threats of violence.

ItalianPrincess1217's avatar

Great answers everyone. Thank you for all the helpful information. Now I’m wondering, how can I get a cease and desist letter written? Do I hire an attorney and pay high fees for such a thing?

YARNLADY's avatar

According to this article, anyone can send a cease and desist letter – which is not the same thing as a court ordered cease and desist.

I found this answer by typing how to issue a cease and desist letter using Goodsearch.com which gave me a list of sources plus paid money to my favorite charity.

Coloma's avatar

Bullies are usually cowards that enjoy using passive aggressive and sneaky shit stirring methods.

Don’t worry about defending yourself, the people in your life that really know you, won’t fall for her childish and defamatory remarks. Yes, if you can get a letter written, on a legal letterhead, ideally, I bet she’ll evaporate like the little drop of do do she is.

mrrich724's avatar

Keep screen shots of this. If it has real effects on you (not that the emotional effects aren’t real) within the community, tell the police.

Then report it on Facebook and press the issue to see if they will penalize her, up to and including termination of her account.

Then block her. Life must go on!

Sorry you have to deal with something like this :(

AshlynM's avatar

@ItalianPrincess1217 You don’t need a lawyer to write up legal documents, but it IS a good idea for your first time. Plus, any legal documents will have more of an impact if they were drawn up by a lawyer. You can get fairly cheap legal document software either online or some office supply stores and write up the document yourself.

Jess29's avatar

@ItalianPrincess1217, I am going through pretty much the same thing right now, My ex mother in law Is using my whole name on facebook and telling everyone that I am a kidnapper, that I have a criminal background, that I do drugs, calls me a bad mother etc., she was (until I blocked her) was sending me private messages telling me to kill myself and calling me very awful names. None of her statements are even close to true! Like you, it has consumed me! I moved 500 miles away over a year ago to get away from these people and they have still found a way to harrasse e me. I too, would love to know I can make it stop. Reporting it to facebook has not yet worked!

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