Potentially defamatory messages posted on social media website Facebook could be costly for one woman, who is being sued by an entire family for a series of posts on her page back in 2016. The case against Janelle Burke could set a new standard for local users of Facebook and other social media websites.
No legislation governs the use of social media locally and Justice Frank Seepersad’s ruling next Monday can create a precedent for other, similar cases where libellous statements are posted on social media accounts.
It will also serve as a warning to social media users to be wary of what they post, as defamatory statements can spread swiftly, increasing the likelihood of false information and damaging the integrity of an innocent person.
In their lawsuit, the family who testified at the Hall of Justice in Port of Spain yesterday, claims Burke published five libellous statements on Facebook that resulted in their suffering “shame and embarrassment”, since those statements were false and may have been seen by thousands.