Today I received a letter through the solicitors for a company, demanding removal of material from the Platinax forums, after people claiming to be customers posted complaints about the company’s sales procedure.
I received two phone calls from a representative of the company in question, telling me to remove the threads or face the legal consequences.
Although I initially complied, I returned the threads to the forum on the grounds that I personally didn’t see anything defamatory - simply valid customer complaints.
Now their solicitors are demanding:
1. Removal of the threads
2. A public apology
3. Payment of legal fees so far incurred
4. All details on forum members who have complained
It certainly poses an interesting general question - “when is a complaint defamatory?”
It is also going to be very interesting to see to what extent forum admins have legal responsibility over such postings - especially as the company’s solicitors are claiming to hold not simply Platinax Internet Ltd - which runs this site - as legally responsible, but also myself personally, and my marketing company, Britecorp.
There’s a fundamental issue of rights of expression online that underlines this.
I accept that obviously defmatory comments have no place in the forums I admin, but I do not accept that companies have any right to silence valid customer complaints from the internet, as I see in this situation.
I go see a very good solicitors on Thursday - I’ll let you know what advice I’m given on the matter.
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