Be careful out there: Internet defamation can take down your small business

A few months ago, I read a nonfiction book that is a major cautionary tale about the truly horrible things that can happen to one’s career or business when someone defames you on the Internet. In Give Me Everything You Have: On Being Stalked, by James Lasdun, a college professor who is also a published novelist and poet, tells the harrowing story of how he was stalked online by a former student who was hell bent on ruining his career after he spurned her romantic advances. The student began claiming online and through letters to Lasdun’s employers and publishers that he was a plagiarist and a sexual predator among his students.

This relentless campaign to destroy Lasdun lasted for at least five years and was still going on when he published his memoir on the experience and the terrible toll on all aspects of his life and career. As a self-employed writer, it was shocking to realize how much damage a single disturbed or disgruntled person could do to one’s reputation via the Internet. And as Lasdun learned, stopping someone from defaming you or your company is not simple.

This infographic on Internet defamation covers both sides – being defamed and defaming someone. I’m sure you would never intentionally defame someone, but as this infographic points out, publishing statements from other sources online without fact checking them first can land you in hot water. So be careful out there!

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Note: This post is sponsored by Kelly Warner.​ I was invited to this opportunity by Quality Blue Community and I received compensation for my time. All opinions expressed in this post are my own.

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