“To sue, or not to sue: that is the question: Whether ’tis nobler in the mind to suffer The slings and arrows of outrageous online reviews, Or to take suit against a sea of social media, And by opposing end them?” – HeathG with apologies to Shakespeare It seems that some business still don’t appreciate the perils of trying to silence critics with defamation suits. From McLibel, to the NYC Skank and Lindsay Lohan – businesses and celebrities are learning the hard way that suing your critics in to submission can be a very risky proposition.The latest example comes all the way from Kalamazoo, and it’s a classic example of what not to do in the the hyperconnected age of social media.
Whilst ignoring racist behaviour online won’t automatically make it go away, those trying to quash it through legal threats should recognise their actions may actually make matters worse. The SMH today reports that: “The Australian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) has threatened legal action against a widely read but controversial US-based website over an article that encourages racial hatred against Aborigines. … In a letter to Joseph Evers, the owner of Encyclopedia Dramatica (ED) – a more shocking version of Wikipedia that contains racist and other offensive articles dubbed as “satire” – the commission said it had received 20 complaints from Aborigines over the “Aboriginal” page on the site. (SMH 17/03/2010)” As online rights group EFA points out in the same SMH article, trying to censor […]