About Attorney Jesse Haskins

Integrity and reputation mean a lot to Jesse Haskins. So much so, he dedicates his legal practice to preserving them – and seeking the truth.

What Is Internet Defamation?

Internet defamation occurs when someone makes a false statement that reflects negatively on your reputation. The law considers internet defamation written rather than spoken. Therefore, internet defamation is libel.

Internet defamation is any online falsehood that identifies you (or your company) and is harmful to your name, personal reputation, or business enterprise.

Internet defamation can be a(n):

  • Review
  • Post
  • Blog
  • Website comment
  • Facebook or Instagram post or comment
  • Twitter tweet
  • YouTube video
  • TikTok video
  • Other forms of digital communication or social media communication

Any hint of impropriety or scandal may be enough to damage your personal and professional reputation. Fortunately, you can protect yourself against defamation when you have a claim that meets certain conditions.

Five Elements of Defamation

A strong internet defamation case includes these five characteristics:

  1. The statement must be false. You cannot file a defamation suit for a damaging post or comment if it is true – the truth is an absolute defense against defamation.
  2. The statement must be negative. Not only should the message be false, but it must also be harmful.
  3. The statement must be communicated to a third party. Internet defamation third-parties include social media apps (Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat), websites, and other digital communication.
  4. The person who posted the statement must be negligent. Spreading information that someone knows to be untrue – or without investigating the message for truthfulness –may be grounds for a defamation lawsuit.
  5. The statement must cause damage. You must show that the defamatory comment caused you to suffer emotionally, professionally, or financially. But for certain types of statements, damage is presumed—meaning you do not need to prove it.

As an internet defamation lawyer with considerable experience, Jesse Haskins will give you an honest assessment, explain your options, and determine the strength of your case.

Common Social Media Defamation

Any false, inflammatory statement published on a third-party site could be defined as internet defamation.

  • False posts about infidelity on dating websites
  • False posts and attacks on social media websites
  • Fake reports and comments on gossip websites
  • Fake business or professional reviews
  • False statements on consumer advocacy websites
  • False and negative posts on community message boards and forums

Revenge Porn

J Haskins Law can also help if you are the victim of revenge porn. Revenge porn is a form of “sextortion,” when someone, often during a divorce or breakup, posts compromising, naked, or lewd pictures of a former partner.

Although the poster may have legitimate possession of these pictures (presumably shared while the relationship was active), revenge porn is retaliation designed to cause emotional, personal, or financial distress.


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Internet Defamation Challenges

The internet sends potentially devastating images and text in a split second. The speed at which a false statement is spread is only one challenge in an internet defamation case.

There are others:

  • Identifying the individual who wrote the post.
  • Collecting evidence of defamation.
  • Locating the website owners or web host.
  • Assigning a value to your damages.

How an Attorney Identifies the Author

Tracking the source, identity, and location of a libelous individual requires a specific skill set. J Haskins Law works with internet information specialists who use domain registrant searches, proxy services, IP tracking, and other processes to discover the author.

These internet experts can also retrieve posts that were deleted, removed, or altered.

Is IMHO a Viable Defense?

You often see “IMHO” on a post – which means “In My Humble Opinion.” Other posts might start with “I think.” People are entitled to their own opinion. They have the right to share their thoughts on everything from restaurants to plumbers – even attorneys.

The anonymous nature of internet posts (nicknames, handles, or a false identity) makes it easier to leave a negative Yelp or Google review. But this alone is not enough to be considered libel. What constitutes an opinion can be a tough question that depends on context. Saying “IMHO” does not in itself convert a fact into an opinion.

Web Hosts Are Generally Immune to Legal Action

Web hosts and website owners are typically protected from legal action according to Section 230 of the United States Communications Decency Act. This federal law gives web hosts immunity from third-party content deemed “obscene, lewd, lascivious, filthy, excessively violent, harassing, or otherwise objectionable.” In other words, you probably cannot sue Facebook (or another web host) for allowing a defamatory post or comment.

Damages from Defamation

Damages are the losses that you suffer as a direct result of internet defamation, such as:

  • Financial: You lose existing and potential customers. Your employer treats you differently.
  • Personal: Your relationships suffer.
  • Emotional: You suffer from mental anguish.

The burden of proof is usually on you to prove that the defamatory statement harmed your reputation and financial well-being. An internet defamation attorney can assess your damages, including:

  • Actual damages are to restore the losses that you suffered because of the defamation.
  • Presumed damages are losses that are a likely consequence of the defamatory statement.

Defamation Per Se

Some false statements are so egregious that the court presumes damages. This is called slander per se and is applied when the fraudulent review, comment, post, or Tweet states:

  • You are a felon or involved in what may be considered a criminal felony.
  • You have a disease.
  • You are unfit to conduct your business or trade.
  • You engaged in illicit or inappropriate sexual conduct.
  • The rule for libel per se is slightly different, but can make a significant difference.

Legal Action for Online Defamation

Internet defamation lawyer Jesse Haskins helps you through the legal process of seeking compensation for damage against your character and reputation. Some defamation cases start with a cease and desist letter, a cautionary correspondence sent to an individual demanding that they cease potentially unlawful behavior and stop (desist) the behavior or face legal action.

Sometimes the only way to restore your reputation and recover damages is by filing a lawsuit. You have two years to file a defamation lawsuit in Florida.

Do You Have a Defamation Case?

When your reputation is on the line, it’s time to call an attorney capable of handling an internet defamation lawsuit. With an impressive record for individuals harmed by hurtful untruths, contact attorney Jesse Haskins. He’ll review what was said or written, interview witnesses, and if you have a compelling case, he’ll guide you through demanding fair and full compensation.

Call 727-371-9730 / Contact Haskins Law