Skip to content

Are tweets fact or opinion?

Post categories

  1. Uncategorized
Although defamation cases based on Twitter posts are generally subject to the same standards, at least one court has ruled…

Although defamation cases based on Twitter posts are generally subject to the same standards, at least one court has ruled that the “freewheeling, anything-goes” nature of the Internet may provide a defense.

In a case stemming from a widely distributed, anonymous email message, the New York intermediate appellate court held that alleged defamatory comments published in cyberspace often lack the level of credibility readers would give similar remarks in other contexts.

“The culture of Internet communications, as distinct from that of print media such as newspapers and magazines, has been chracterized as encouraging a free-wheeling, anything-goes writing style… [B]ulletin boards and chat rooms are often the repository of a wide range of casual, emotive, and imprecise speech… the online recipients of [offensive] statements do not necessarily attribute the same level of credence to the statments [that] they would accord to statements made in other contexts,” the court in Sandals Resorts International Ltd. v. Google, Inc. said.

The opinion indicates that the broader online context in which a tweet is published may be an important consideration for courts evaluating whether the remark is fact or opinion.