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Ben Jones
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
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We have an online petition started by a disgrunted former customer.

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We have an online petition started by a disgrunted former customer. The petition contents are highly defamatory and provably untrue, however the hosts of the petition refuse to acknowledge this and as as result has affected our reputation substantially.

How can we attempt to resolve or remove this petition from further damaging our reputation?

Ben Jones :

Hello, my name is XXXXX XXXXX it is my pleasure to assist you with your question today.

The issue here is who can be held liable for the allegedly defamatory content.


Of course you can accuse the original author of the content that what they have done is defamatory but at the same time it is potentially possible to also place some blame on the hosts of the web page or forum where the comments were posted. This is something that is covered by both case law and also some statutes.


In order to have any rights you would have to show that the statement was actually defamatory in the first place. Assuming that is the case, the web host's liability could potentially arise from the following:


As a general rule they will not be liable for damages in relation to the content (even if the content is defamatory) provided that:

  • They were not aware of the defamatory information or of anything from which it would have been apparent that the information was defamatory; and

  • Once they became aware that the information is defamatory or of anything from which it would be apparent to you that the information was defamatory, they act quickly to remove the information or disable access to it.


You can write to the web hosts and tell them that these specific comments are defamatory, provide evidence if you can and advise them that they are not put on notice that they are hosting defamatory content. Remind them that as they now know this if they fail to take reasonable steps to remove the content or disable access to it, they can be held jointly responsible for its contents and be made a party to any potential claim for defamation.


If they refuse to act then unfortunately the only way to deal with this would be by going to the courts and seeking an injunction.

Ben Jones :

Has this answered your query or do you need me to clarify anything further for you?

Ben Jones :

I hope this has answered your query and would be grateful if you could please take a second to leave a positive rating - your question will not close and I can continue providing further advice if necessary. Thank you

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