Be Careful What You Say!

As we move more and more to online media and social networking do we need to be careful what we say? Should we be liable for every word we say?

It’s an interesting topic at the moment and will only become more and more at the forefront of our thoughts. I’m not talking about privacy but rather responsibility. Anyone that knows the tech site zGeek will probably be aware that at the moment they are facing legal action over comments that were left by users. What is even more interesting is that Google is also being sued because the Google search engine has indexed the comments. If you want to know more about that story just go HERE.

At the same time you can see on any news site that user comments quite often are slanderous or not nice and in some cases nasty. So even though these sites as does Facebook and others, allows users to report inappropriate or offensive content, what liability should exist.

We know the web is full of very negative content. You just need to open Facebook. We know the web is a source for bullies to really damage others. So if you are posting on the web what should you consider.

In my opinion it’s such a difficult area. On this site all comments are moderated. This is mainly for the purpose of preventing spam than moderating, but on a large scale site this just isn’t feasible. I like the idea of users reporting inappropriate content as long as it’s then checked by the company and dealt with appropriately. This shouldn’t mean that moderation becomes politically correct. I want the web to be uncensored, however there is a line that needs to be drawn. I won’t tolerate personal attacks and where I want to speak my mind openly about someone, would never use that person’s real name.

It’s inappropriate for someone to make a personal attach against me for example on a site. That is defamatory and inappropriate. However if someone wants to condemn my stance on an issue then go for it. But when news sites are being taken to court over user comments I get nervous. This potentially screams censorship and I do have a problem with this. I also want to be able to say I think something is crap. If I buy something and don’t like it, I should be able to review it myself. However we have seen cases in the past where companies try to sue people just because they say something negative about their product.

Moving forward we have to be very careful that the web doesn’t become censored and is an open forum for peoples opinions. I know there are lines that need to be drawn particularly around character attacks and bullying, but lets make sure we draw these lines carefully.