What is online shaming (CYBER SHAMING)?
The purpose of online shaming (or bullying online) is to harm or humiliate the person against whom something is published. In fact, this is nothing less than a cyber bullying phenomenon.
Today, the phenomenon of online shaming preoccupies the various courts a lot because the Internet has taken a central part in our lives, it is cheap and available to almost everyone, and it allows for a very wide distribution, therefore the damage to the person against whom the online shaming was carried out may be particularly severe.
A common tool today for online shaming is the social network Facebook. Shaming on Facebook has led to particularly interesting rulings, not only because the compensation amounts awarded to the victims may be particularly high, but because the courts have extended the responsibility not only to the person who wrote the original post and is responsible for the shaming, but the person who may pay financial compensation to the victim is also a group manager The Facebook where the shaming was carried out.
The person who shared a post on Facebook can also be held liable for online shaming. That is, that person did not write the offensive things, but he spread the shaming (in good faith or not) and therefore increased the exposure to the offensive post, and therefore he can be held responsible and required to pay financial compensation to the victim.
On the other hand, the trend in the ruling is not to charge compensation to a person who "liked" a post that constitutes shaming.
Another way to carry out shaming is through WhatsApp groups . The same principle applies here too – the advertiser writes a message to a large group of people with the aim of hurting another person. To receive financial compensation, the victim does not have to be a member of the same WhatsApp group.
Another option for shaming using the WhatsApp application is to take a screenshot of a correspondence that includes private content and publish it on the Internet or on Facebook, all with the aim of humiliating one of the participants in the correspondence.
Does every negative posting on Facebook constitute online shaming?
The answer is an unequivocal no. This issue comes before the courts when customers write negative reviews about businesses and the businesses fail to remove the review from the Internet.
Naturally, positive or negative reviews can make a business succeed or fail, so business owners take these reviews very seriously. When these cases come before the court, the judge is forced to strike a balance between the customer's freedom of expression and the business's right to benevolence .
Writing a complaint about a private person may also be accepted in court as a publication that constitutes shaming.
A rule of thumb for the careful surfer who wishes to avoid advertising or shaming on the net is to find out all the facts carefully before making the announcement, not to exaggerate or inflate the case and certainly not to invent data that did not happen.
If you follow this simple rule of thumb, even if a lawsuit is filed against you alleging online shaming, you will have enough defenses that can be brought up in court.
How do you fight shaming?
Today, the most common way to fight shaming (whether it's online shaming or offline shaming) is through the defamation law. This law was enacted with the aim of combating the phenomenon of libel .
This law defines what is defamation that justifies compensation in court – and in fact it is almost anything that is intended to humiliate a person or damage his livelihood. At the same time, the courts do not award financial compensation for everyday curses, even though they may also be offensive and humiliating.
For example; You will not receive financial compensation for cursing Ben *Vena, but if someone calls you a Nazi or a fascist you are certainly expected to receive financial compensation.
Naturally, it is not possible to compile an exact list of curses or statements that are entitled to financial compensation, so if you have been harmed as a result of online shaming or if you have received a demand for compensation due to online shaming, it is recommended to contact and consult with a defamation lawyer .
The defamation law provides for very high financial compensation. As of today, any offensive publication may entitle the victim to an amount exceeding NIS 75,000. For example, if the advertiser published the offensive information once on Facebook and once in a WhatsApp group, the victim may claim compensation for two different publications, i.e. an amount exceeding NIS 150,000.
If the victim manages to prove that the offender intended to harm him – the amount of compensation is already doubled from the initial publication. If we use the previous example: for shaming on Facebook and shaming on WhatsApp, the victim may demand financial compensation slightly exceeding 300,000 NIS (a little more than 150,000 NIS for advertising).
It is not enough to claim that there was an intention to harm the goal of winning the double financial compensation, but it must be proven, but sometimes this is not complicated. for example; In cases where a business writes false information about another business in order to get customers to come to it.
Another example; When a co-worker publishes offensive and false information against another employee in order to prevent that employee from being promoted, all with the goal that the advertiser will be promoted in his place.
Of course, each case must be examined individually and according to its special circumstances. It is not always worthwhile to claim that there was intent to harm, and especially when there is difficulty in proving this, because the amount of the claim increases the amount of the fee (the court fee is 2.5% of the amount of the claim, therefore when the amount of the claim is higher, the amount of the fee will necessarily be higher).
What is the amount of compensation accepted in court for shaming?
The court does not have a uniform tariff for every offensive statement that constitutes online shaming, and each case is examined on its own merits.
We will present a number of recent cases so that it will be easier for you to understand things. Of course, it is worth reading the full judgments to understand all the circumstances that led the judge to decide on the amount of financial compensation mentioned next to each judgment.
- Publishing a post on Facebook against a doctor – compensation 15,000 NIS .
- Sending an email to a group of people with offensive information about another person – compensation NIS 30,000 .
- Conflict at work following sending a letter to superiors with offensive information – NIS 30,000 compensation .
- Posting on Facebook and saying that a person is a "liar and cheater" – NIS 9,000 compensation .
- Public dispute between neighbors – 60,000 NIS compensation .
Have you been hurt as a result of a shaming advertisement? Contact a defamation lawyer .