In this article we discuss how to act against social media posts that are intended to discredit someone professionally and insult them.
The first thing is to define the criminality of this type of behavior.
Article 208 of the Spanish Penal Code classifies this type of action as an offence of defamation: “the action or expression that damages the dignity of another person, undermining his reputation or threatening his own self-respect, is defamation” and as such, can only be denounced by the injured party.
If in addition such a publication not only defames someone but alleges that they committed a crime then it could become a case of libel, as envisaged in article 205 of the Spanish Penal Code, which deals with the imputation of a crime made either with knowledge of its falsity or reckless disregard of the truth. As such, we are reporting a crime of defamation or libel, as the case may be.
The second is to assess the severity of the publications
These types of crimes are aggravated if they are given additional publicity by being committed on social media. Indeed, millions of messages or posts are currently published daily on social media, instantly broadcast to potentially unlimited recipients, so it is especially important to know how to act at all times to ensure protection of one’s rights to honour. Therefore, it is necessary to have a clear protocol for action against crimes that affect the honour and dignity of each individual, especially because of the damage that these types of offensive publications can cause as a result of their widespread distribution.
It is important to stress that it is not possible to publish anything on social media that is completely repercussion free because a publication considered injurious or libellous can have legal consequences.
Finally, we have to be very clear how to act in these cases
Well, if we find that there is a person who has been publishing defamatory messages on social media, the most important thing, even before filing a complaint, would be to get irrefutable evidence of them so as to be able to demonstrate in Court that such posts were made.
For this purpose, it would be wise to ask the nearest notary to draw up a notarized certificate of confirmation of said publications, accessing them from a computer in the notary’s office.
Next, if the email address of the person making these publications is available, or any other means of communication exists, a formal request (digitally certified email) will be sent to them orderering them to cease their publications and immediately eliminate all previous posts that seriously threaten the reputation and dignity of the injured party.
Finally, the corresponding denuncia will be presented to the competent Court, providing the documentary evidence indicated above, and asking the Court to compel the guilty party to publish their guilty verdict on their Twitter, Facebook or any other social network profile they have, as well as to impose a large fine and award additional compensation to the injured party for aggravated distress.