Tuesday, January 01, 2019

Is a negative post on Twitter entitled to a presumption that it is an "opinion" in defamation law?

A fairly brief post for New Year’s Day.

I wanted to pass along YouTuberLaw’s analysis of the “Pedo Guy” lawsuit against Elon Musk.

What’s interesting here is the idea that any claim about a celebrity posted on social media, especially Twitter, deserves to be regarded as “opinion”, rather than “asserted fact”, which means it can no longer be defamation. Also is the idea that the circumstances make it clear this is conjecture.

You could say it’s too bad that English doesn’t have a formal subjunctive mood (with conjugated verb endings), like French and most European languages do.  Then you know what is really an assertion and what is claimed truth.

Still, it’s risky to lose your temper and make a defamatory statement on social media.
There’s a recent flak on Twitter about some nasty (but not defamatory) claims about Bre Payton after her passing – see my “Issues” blog. 

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