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Ask Ely Your Own Question
Ely, Counselor at Law
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 102144
Experience:  Private practice with focus on family, criminal, PI, consumer protection, and business consultation.
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Customer: Can you help me with a question I have?
JA: Because laws vary from state to state, could you tell me what state is this in?
Customer: New Jersey
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Submitted: 11 months ago.
Category: Legal
Customer: replied 11 months ago.
Posted by JustAnswer at customer's request) Hello. I would like to request the following Expert Service(s) from you: Live Phone Call. Let me know if you need more information, or send me the service offer(s) so we can proceed.
Customer: replied 11 months ago.
Hello, I had a question, someone posted my first and last name on a message board. They linked my name to some unkind things, also, linked me to a story that was not true. I want those posts taken down. They did delete my name, but it still shows up on Google results. Is there anything I can do? Can I have a lawyer contact them to get these posts deleted? They are MONTHS old....
Expert:  Ely replied 11 months ago.

Hello and welcome to JustAnswer. Please note: This is general information for educational purposes only and is not legal advice. No specific course of action is proposed herein, and no attorney-client relationship or privilege is formed by speaking to an expert on this site. By continuing, you confirm that you understand and agree to these terms.

What can I answer for you, please?

This is not an answer, but an information request. I need this information to answer your question. Please reply, so I can answer your question. Thank you in advance.

Expert:  Ely replied 11 months ago.

Oh, you have just added more information. Thank you. In that case, I need to know:

1) Do you know the user that did this? Their real name? Or not?

2) What kind of link/unsavory information did they associate with your name? Can you clarify?

Customer: replied 11 months ago.
I know his real name. He posted my real name because I argeed to buy some books, then never heard from me. Someone posted a story about me taking a book from him and not giving him a book in return, the story is not true.
Customer: replied 11 months ago.
He did it to embarrass me. He linked my real name to my board name. Someone saw that and posted a link to a story that was told months ago, I was not aware of it.
Customer: replied 11 months ago.
I contacted the man who put up the post, he deleted all his posts but the issue is, other people commented on it, its very embarrassing.
Expert:  Ely replied 11 months ago.

Thank you.

According to Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, the website itself is not liable for third party content. So someone in your situation has to go after him if the website refuses to delete his post, or, is non-responsive. What someone in your situation can do is threaten to sue him for defamation, which is defined as 1) a false statement purporting to be fact; 2) publication or communication of that statement to a third person; 3) fault amounting to at least negligence; and 4) damages, or some harm caused to the person or entity who is the subject of the statement.

What you can do is send a takedown demand letter using an attorney to this individual, via certified mail. This normally resolves the issue quickly.

However, if he already took down the post, then there is nothing to demand. You can either actually still SUE him for the damage done under defamation, however.

But you cannot really control other people's speech, unless it is directly defaming you. You can try to send like letters to individuals commenting if they are libeling you and you know their real name, but that can have a Streisand Effect, so I would be careful.

So you can get him to take off the posit - and it seems he did. You can sue him for defamation if you'd like. But you cannot hold the website accountable, and it would be a very problematic effort to control other people's reactions to the (now deleted) post.

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Customer: replied 11 months ago.
Can I send a takedown letter the company that controls the message board? Will they simply take anything down to avoid the hassle?
Expert:  Ely replied 11 months ago.

Yes. However, it would be up to the company to make that decision since they are not liable so they have no reason to take it down except if they want to. But perhaps you can appeal to their good will and human nature. They may take it down to avoid the hassle of a later subpoena, etc.

If you tell me what website it is, I can possibly find out who controls it and where to send the takedown request.

Gentle Reminder: Please, use REPLY or SEND button to keep chatting, or RATE POSITIVELY and SUBMIT your rating when we are finished. You may always ask follow ups at no charge after rating.