Are you liable for what you say online?

Are you liable for what you say online?




I am so pleased to find out theres still some excellent content left on the internet. Im so fed up with google sending me junk.


A teacher in elementary school taught me to be careful with what you write. As words can be taken by the wind. But written words stay.

Joined: 11/08/2010
Posts: 0

It amazes me how many people who commented on this video did not bother to read the article. It's fine to show your support of the 1st Amendment; which, by the way, does not give anyone the right to be a jerk. Also the 1st Amendment to the United States Constitution is probably not recognized in the country of Canada where the article originates since they have their own constitution and laws.

Yes, you are always accountable to what you say either in person or on the internet. Whether or not you like it, at minimum you represent your family, school, job, country, and yourself. So you will always need to be careful of what you post on the internet. Liability implies accountability and everyone is always accountable for the things they say and do even if they try to hide behind an online persona.

"Luminous beings are we, not this crude matter." - Yoda

Joined: 10/30/2010
Posts: 30

Yeah, I agree with that.

Also, this may not be the same thing as what the video was getting at, but some companies are starting to ask for like your facebook and stuff, and if you say something they don't like it can come back to haunt you in your job search. And they've asked for passwords, so you can't just hide it. So yeah.


Depends, defamation is a pretty hard sell to a court. If the information is true, then it isn't defamation, it's fact. Opinions are also OK because it is just that, an opinion. If you defame somebody that intentionally causes you financial harm and you can prove that the comment was directly responsible for the damages, then you might have a case.

Joined: 06/07/2010
Posts: 0

You should not be liable unless you're spilling national or corperate secrets, you should be responsible but not financially liable for everything else.

Manic Mouse
Manic Mouse's picture
Joined: 02/01/2007
Posts: 141

1st amendment is all well and good as far as it goes. What it mean is you can say what you want, when you want. It does not guarantee that there can't or won't be consequences. Here are a few scenarios:

1. You are in an airport and say something like "I bet this plane makes a big bang when I blow it up".

Consequence: When the dogpile of airport guards finally get off you and you recover from the cavity search, you will most likely sit in jail for a day or two charged with a minimum of public mischief.

2. There is a pro football linebacker sitting at the bar having a beer. You walk up to him and tell him you had a great time with his mother/wife/sister/daughter last night.

Consequence: Chances are you will be missing some teeth while lying in traction recovering from having half the bones in your body broken when he catches you in a nice quiet spot with no witnesses.

The same applies online. You can say what you want. BUT there may well be consequences. Online anonymity only goes so far. Take my word on this as I have a bit of experience from being an online ass: A determined researcher can find out anything they want about you. As much as you might think otherwise you have NO secrets online. And if they have proof (i.e. a screen print) of something libelous you have said, they can very well come after you with a gang of lawyers as well as make your life a living hell in other ways.


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Don't forget about my 1st Amendment.

Joined: 04/01/2010
Posts: 143

I hope so, one feature on the internet I would like to be produced is a technology where people can go inside the internet and beat each other up, if this happens people will be more responsible with what they do on the internet.


Ooh, I was censored for saying something similar to "thorns." Well, for lack of a better description, a thorn in our toes.


I say that people should stop being such children about having someone bring it to their attentions that they may be... well, for lack of a better word, pricks. Now, don't be hateful to organizations, peoples, religions, etc., but if you have some kind of disliking for someone, you have the right to say it. I'm not one for bullying, so saying nasty things about someone in order to target that person is just plain crude and cruel. At least half of a bully's techniques are verbal. Sticks and stones may break our bones, but nothing hurts like a broken heart. Either way, pertaining mostly to the US, the world needs to grow up.

Latoywri's picture
Joined: 10/09/2009
Posts: 29

I think this is stupid, its just another way for ppl to control ppl with an opinion. For instance, If i said "Rodney site SUX!", then im entitle to THAT opinion. Rodney of course should not give a damn because theres ppl that think Rodney IS the BizzNEss. When it comes to Defaming, if i were to say "OMG,Rodney is having and affair with me and cheating on his wife" Should Rodney be mad? YES! should he take it to court? NO! Why? because in turn, The allegations will turn against ME and make me into a LIAR, i have JUST defamed myself.

Now if it causes Trouble like Rod gets a devorce based off an unfounded LIE, THEN Rod should have every Right to put my happy HomeWRECkin ass before a judge.

Like what happend to Bill Cosby,(the bill Cosby is dead joke.

Basically, if you have a sudden life change(for the worst) off a unfounded lie, Then it should be before a judge.

100% kickass Woman

Joined: 04/08/2011
Posts: 15

People need to stop being sue happy and grow some,if somethings said,its prob true and deserved.society has
gotten pathetic,if u cant take it,dont dish it.and this has nothing to do with race/religion,those are excuses.they've always been there(as much as I hate it)and always will be.

LordReserei's picture
Joined: 04/13/2010
Posts: 19

It kind of depends what is said. It's why I have a few personas on the internet. One that is known or I use and want people to know (LordReserei), one that gives me anonymity and of course another one for my professional life.

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Tivon's picture
Joined: 04/26/2002
Posts: 1939

You can have a right for a opinion or freedom of speech, but with that right comes a responsibility. As an adult if your actions on the internet harm other people then you will be held accountable.

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It will be very hard to judge what you can be sued for. If I call a police officer waste of space on the internet it's my opinion and he can just choose to ignore it. If it offends a christian when I make a joke about jesus then he has all the rights to be offended, but why should I care? If he has even a tiny stretch of common sense he will live with being offended. I might say I'm offended by how much the US spends on military, can I sue the pentagon for that? I don't think so.

lestat692k9's picture
Joined: 04/26/2010
Posts: 53

i agree i person that says somthing online or offline should be held responsiable for what they say... For the simple fact that they said it and no one else did!!!!!

DeV's picture
Joined: 07/03/2010
Posts: 25

No! Freedom of speech and i have a right for a opinion.


You can say anything you want if you say it as anonymous, or by a fake name.


definately yea, but it depend on what is said. Foe example sometimes on news they show how someone call the polititian some "mild" bad names and they sue a poor guy for harming their honor, which is completely retard thing to do and is done mostly for media atention purpose anyways.
On the internet comment a person has a right to be angry on someone for a season, but if there is no serious reason and you talk sh@#%t about them and keep doing that more than once or twice, than YEA, you have every right to be sued for harming persons reputation or "good name".

xxviciousxxomg's picture
Joined: 07/25/2010
Posts: 3

so what happened to freedom of speech?

You should act like that in public!


There's freedom of speech on the one hand, where one could say "Soandso sucks balls". Of course everybody with half a brain knows that this doesn't constitute empirical truth that the person in question is actually sucking aformentioned balls and yet there are these people with no ability of understanding the underlying thought behind the words who will use whatever means possible to take away this freedom of speech on technicalities.

And then there's actual defamation of a person or company's reputation online that can negatively affect those in the real world. In a black and white scenario where everybody agrees a line has been crossed, you can hold people liable - 2 simple examples of this: death threats and terrorist threats.

I myself am still a big advocate of: if you don't like it, change the channel. Don't be all prissy about things you don't like and then use some heartless automaton to shut free speech down. If generic criticism - albeit in rugged format - gets to you to the point where you are actually taking action against it, introspection is in order.

cosmoknight74's picture
Joined: 04/13/2009
Posts: 15

It's a lot easier to prove what you type online vs. what you say in person. So watch what you type. Reread it before you submit it. If you are POed, wait a day. But then again did your account get hacked?

Joined: 04/16/2011
Posts: 36

I think you should be liable, depending on how 'bad' your comment is, of course. As soon as a person puts anything on the internet it becomes public information so people have to learn to be careful. Many people don't realise that webmasters can log their comments (by IP for example) and they think they are safe hiding behing their computers when they're not.


I'd have to say yes you should be liable for what you say, there a lot of pages in even Facebook that promote hate against a group/race/religion, and I think its totally wrong, as Rodney mentioned all you are going to end up doing is hurting someone feeling and making enemies, I just don't think promoting anything hateful is good, but at the same time I guess in some cases the person may just be making a friendly joke, under those circumstances I think its ok..

But otherwise no, in fact I think any hateful group on social networking sites should be removed.. Tolerance is important, this 2011, just because you don't agree with the views of some other person/people doesn't give you the right to make hateful comments..

In the end we all gotta get along with each other..

3dGameMan's picture
Joined: 12/31/2000
Posts: 5401 article (Lawyers warn that even average social media users risking jobs with their tweets):

Rodney Reynolds,