Category Archives: Online Reputation Management

Online Defamation – What to do if it happens to you

online defamation

What is online defamation?

Online defamation is a false and harmful statement that is published online about you or your business. It can be in the form of a blog post, review, or even a simple comment on social media.

Many people think that online defamation is not a big deal because it’s not physical, but the reality is that it can be just as harmful as slander or libel. It can damage your reputation, cost you business, and even lead to legal action.

There are a few things you can do if you are the victim of online defamation:

-Contact the person who made the defamatory statement and ask them to remove it.
-Contact the website or platform where the defamatory statement was published and ask them to remove it.
-File a lawsuit against the person who made the defamatory statement.

If you are considering taking legal action, it’s important to speak with an experienced attorney who can help you understand your options and make sure you are taking the best course of action for your situation.

What are the elements of a defamation claim?

To prove defamation, a plaintiff must show that the defendant made a false and defamatory statement about the plaintiff that was published to a third party. In other words, the statement must be false, it must refer to the plaintiff, it must be “published” (meaning some third party saw or read it), and it must result in harm to the plaintiff’s reputation.

Not all false statements are considered defamation. For example, an opinion is not defamation, and neither is true statement (regardless of how harmful it might be). Defamation law seeks to balance competing interests: on one hand, people should not have to worry about false and harmful lies being spread about them; on the other hand, people should be able to freely express their opinions and criticize others without fear of lawsuits.

In order for a statement to be considered defamation, it must be presented as fact rather than opinion. Opinions are not defamatory because they cannot be proven true or false. For example, if someone says “I think John is lazy,” that is an opinion and cannot be proven true or false. However, if someone says “John is lazy because he never comes to work on time,” that is a factual statement that can be proven true or false.

Who can be sued for online defamation?

Most people assume that only individuals can be sued for online defamation, but this is not the case. In fact, corporations and other entities can also be held liable. The key is whether the person or entity can be shown to have acted with malice or negligence.

Some common defendants in online defamation lawsuits include:

-websites and website owners
-internet service providers (ISPs)
-bloggers and other online publishers
-online reviewers
-social media users

What are some defenses to online defamation claims?

There are a number of ways to defend against claims of online defamation, but the most common is to prove that the statement in question is true. If you can show that the statements made about you are accurate, then you will not be held liable for defamation.

Other defenses to defamation claims include:

– The statements were made as an opinion and not fact
– The statements were made in a protected setting such as a court proceeding or legislative hearing
– The statements were made in jest or satire and no one could reasonably believe they were true
– You have a qualified privilege to make the statements, such as in a business setting where you are discussing an employee

How do I file an online defamation lawsuit?

It can be difficult to figure out how to file an online defamation lawsuit, but there are a few steps you can take. First, try to get the person who made the defamatory statements to remove them. If that isn’t possible, you can send a cease and desist letter. If the person refuses to comply, you can file a lawsuit.

Before you take any legal action, you should speak with an attorney. An experienced attorney will be able to tell you whether you have a valid claim and what your best course of action is.

What are the consequences of an online defamation lawsuit?

An online defamation lawsuit can have a number of consequences, both legal and financial. If you are sued for online defamation, you may be ordered by the court to pay damages to the plaintiff. These damages can be awarded for any harm that the plaintiff has suffered as a result of the defamation, including lost income, emotional distress, and damage to their reputation. You may also be ordered to pay the plaintiff’s legal fees. In addition, if you are found to have defamed someone online, you may be subject to a court order barring you from repeating the defamatory statements.

Can I sue for online defamation if I am not a U.S. citizen?

Yes. U.S. courts have hearings on defamation cases brought by plaintiffs from other countries, but the process is more complicated. In general, a plaintiff must show that the person who made the defamatory statements intended to harm the plaintiff’s reputation in the United States.

It can be difficult to prove this intent, but there are some factors that courts may consider, including whether:

– The statements were published in a language that is widely read in the United States
– The statements were published on a website that is read by people in the United States
– The plaintiff has business or personal ties to the United States
– The plaintiff was harmed by the defamatory statements in the United States

What are some tips for avoiding online defamation claims?

Although social media can be a great way to connect with others and share your thoughts and experiences, it’s important to be aware of the potential risks associated with posting online. One such risk is internet defamation, which is defined as making a false statement about someone that harms their reputation.

Defamation claims can be both criminal and civil in nature, and if you are found guilty, you could be facing serious penalties including fines and jail time. While it’s not possible to completely protect yourself from being sued for internet defamation, there are some steps you can take to minimize the risk:

-Be mindful of what you post. Think carefully about the potential implications of your words before hitting “publish”. If you wouldn’t say it to someone’s face, don’t say it online.
-Avoid making assumptions. Don’t post information that you don’t know to be true. If you’re not sure about something, don’t spread rumors – find out the facts before you share them.
-Don’t post private information about others without their consent. This includes things like addresses, phone numbers, email addresses, and financial information.
-Think twice before posting compromising photos or videos of others without their permission. Not only could this lead to defamation claims, but it could also violate state privacy laws.
-Respond quickly to false or defamatory claims made about you online. The sooner you address them, the less damage they are likely to cause.
-Consider seeking legal advice if you receive a cease and desist letter or are served with a defamation lawsuit. An experienced lawyer can help you understand your rights and options

How to Do a Radaris Opt Out

Learn how to navigate the Radaris opt out process with our complete step-by-step guide below. 

Radaris, perhaps one of the nation’s largest data providers, is just one of many people-search engines online that are used for finding out information about people, properties, property records, businesses and business owners, and their professional histories. These search engines have the capability to control information stored in their database and make it accessible to the general public, and it is all perfectly legal.

How Long Has Radaris Been Around?

For more than ten years, Radaris has provided its service, according to the company, to aid in the needs of public records researchers, as it has access to commercial and government databases. Much like any other public records search engine, or information broker, Radaris.com provides free profiles of every known person in the U.S., combining hundreds of millions of public records with social media accounts and other online sources.

Why People Use Radaris

Some common reasons many people use Radaris Opt Out and these types of services are to find long-lost friends or family members they are no longer in contact with.

A prospective employer may use the service to check factual references or to examine comprehensive profiles sourcing data when searching for viable job candidates, although the practice of using people search engines for this purpose is frowned upon and may actually be illegal.

Public records in government databases may also be used by private investigators, attorneys, law enforcement officials, and other government agencies. As more public records are posted online, almost anyone can easily compile detailed profiles on individuals.

Radaris Is Used to Find Personal Info

Due to the popularity of a recent streaming show called, “The Tinder Swindler,” which highlighted the escapades of a man who, in order to lure women, fabricated stories of his wealth, which put women everywhere on alert. In the story, the man used Tinder to bilk women out of money, often ranging in the tens of thousands of dollars or more.

The show helped to highlight the nefarious motives of certain people online. Radaris and other people finder companies can be used to find out more about people that show an interest in an individual, and whether what they are claiming is factual.

Radaris allows them to delve into personal information, basically performing background checks, and enables access to financial information, marital status, and even address history to see if the person’s stories and conversations check out.

How Radaris Works

What data broker Radaris is doing is all legitimate. The process requires only a first and last name, which is the same basic requirement on other sites that provide these same services. Providing the city and state will help to narrow search results.

With its immense amount of data collection, the Radaris site is capable of providing last known addresses and phone numbers (including a cell phone number), along with other generally private information such as:

  • Name in full
  • Phone numbers, age, and current mailing address
  • Resumes and work experience
  • Marriages and divorces
  • Death certificates and other public records
  • Names of relatives
  • Accounts on social media
  • Offenders who have committed sexual offenses
  • Criminal records and mugshots
  • Photographs and videos

How Does Radaris Obtain the Information & Make Money?

Major data brokers, including Radaris.com, obtain your data by purchasing it from other companies. They also have access to certain government records, since they are a matter of public record. This is permitted under federal open records laws and enables citizens to monitor their government documents and to ensure accountability in a democratic society.

Radaris and other data brokers profit by collecting, aggregating, and reselling information to other firms.

Is Radaris Free?

Radaris claims that they provide free public profiles, and independent professional reviews, along with premium background checks, contact reports, and other information tools. For a Radaris account, to perform a simple background check, Radaris requires the user wishing to access the report, and provides a 3-day trial free membership, for $9.95, but if you prefer to bypass membership and pay for just the report, it is $39.95. For a background check, Radaris offers a variety of options depending on what you want to accomplish with the report.

Do A Self-Search to See What Comes Up About You

If you were to enter your own name into the Radaris people search site, or other similar sites, you might find that a lot of your personal and/or private information exists in their massive database. Your personal information, like that of millions of other people who utilize the Internet, either for business, or participate on social media sites, has become a matter of public record.

Concerned About Your Privacy?

Sites that manage info, like Radaris, along with other data brokers, may pose a serious threat to anyone concerned about online privacy and their online reputation. If, for example, a data broker suffers a breach, your personal and private information might be used in criminal activities by bad actors who often invade data broker sites looking for personal information to exploit.

In addition, you certainly may not want your personal information so easily accessible to people who may have unsavory intentions, including spammers, scammers, identity thieves, and even stalkers.

Take Steps to Opt Out of Radaris

To opt out of Radaris, check out the Radaris opt-out guide to automatically remove yourself from their database using their online opt-out form. You have the ability to remove collected information from its pages by following their opt-out process. You can either a) hide specific records or b) remove an entire profile page from view.

To start the opt-out process from Radaris, please follow these simple instructions:

  • Scroll to the bottom of any page on their site and click, “Control Your Info”
  • Read the instructions and enter your first and last name, then click “Search”
  • Find the correct listing and click the blue “Control Info” button
  • Create an account login (this allows Radaris to verify that you are only removing information about yourself)
  • Review and confirm your real name
  • Receive a verification code to your mobile phone
  • View the profile to verify you are removing the right information.
  • Click the down-arrow to the right of the name and select “Control Info”
  • Click “Manage Info”
  • Choose to “Make the profile private” or “Delete specific records”

If you choose to make the entire profile private, the process is now complete.

If you choose to delete specific records in the profile, check the boxes for each record shown. Then click “Remove selected records” to remove information you don’t want accessed.

Your removal request is instantly accepted, but it may take up to 24 hours for the records to be removed from the Radaris database. If you still see the records after 24 hours, press Ctrl+F5 to completely refresh your browser’s page view and you should be able to determine that you successfully had your records removed.

By law, once you initiate the opt-out process, Radaris must honor removal requests. Your removal request should be honored in a timely manner and you should check to ensure the Radaris removal has been completed. Some other sites may require you to submit a removal request letter to request that they remove information from their site. In either case, your online reputation may depend on it.

To learn more about online privacy and how to protect your personal information from leaks on the web, contact EraseComplaints today at 866-904-4478.

The Peoplelooker Opt Out Request Process

Learn how to navigate the Peoplelooker opt-out process with our comprehensive guide. 

Data broker sites have made it easier for individuals to find out personal and even confidential information about a particular person. People can search and get information about a former colleague, an old roommate, a lost family member, a former boyfriend/girlfriend, a husband/wife, or any person of interest. Sites like peoplelooker.com and other people search engines provide you with the ability to conduct a people search and get detailed background checks. The site claims that it runs over 1 million background reports.

What Type of Detailed Background Information Do People Search Sites Provide?

On the peoplelooker website, for example, you can get reports that include:

  • People searches
  • Reverse phone lookups and searches
  • Reverse email searches
  • Reverse property searches
  • Unclaimed money searches

The reports may include the following information about the subject of your search: name and any known aliases, current phone numbers, addresses, known relatives, criminal records, sex offender information, traffic violations, social media profiles, and public photos.

Peoplelooker allows anyone to conduct a free scan before offering paid plans for access to more detailed background information.

Peoplelooker: It’s Easy to Use

Peoplelooker is relatively simple to use. Just enter your subject’s name and surname (along with a state, if desired) in the search bar and click. The search engine will sift through billions of records and compile a report containing all relevant information it finds. A preliminary search takes less than two minutes, and your report is ready for download in less than five minutes.

You can even do a reverse address lookup to see who is at the current residence. Some may use this feature to find a lost relative or to, as the peoplelooker website says, to “zero in home values.” You can put in your address and the addresses of other similar homes in the neighborhood to get home values and previous sales reports.

How Do Data Brokers Get the Personal Information They Offer?

Data broker sites like peoplelooker obtain their information from federal, state, county, and municipal public records. They also get the information from social media networking sites, such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram.

According to the site’s FAQ, peoplelooker obtains its data from billions of records obtained from various sources, but no information is provided on how the company updates its database to ensure the information provided is accurate and up to date. All searches, according to the site, will be monitored. The site also claims users will receive periodic updates if the information in your report changes or something new is discovered.

Are These Data Broker Sites Legit?

Peoplelooker and other data broker sites claim they are legitimate. The terms of the peoplelooker site say the information searched and used must be in compliance with the Federal Credit Reporting Act (FCRA). This means you can’t use peoplelooker.com or other sites from data brokers for the following reasons:

  • Employment screening
  • Tenant screening
  • Hiring household workers
  • Educational qualifications
  • Assessing creditworthiness
  • Business transactions initiated by an individual customer

How to Opt Out of Peoplelooker

Not everyone wants their information searched and found on these data broker sites for various reasons, including the possibility of identity theft. The greater accessibility to private data related to your property and other more detailed background information, the easier it is for bad actors to hack your social media accounts or even steal your identity.

So, What Is the Peoplelooker Opt-Out Process?

You can choose to do a manual opt-out request to remove personal data from the peoplelooker site using the BeenVerified opt-out process.

Go to the footer of the site and click on “Do Not Sell My Information.”

The next step in the opt-out process is to input your name and state and search for your information.

Once you get the search results, scroll through and click on the record. Provide your email to submit your opt-out request.

You’ll get a verification email. Check your email and click the “Verify Opt Out” link.

After you get the verification email and click the “Verify Opt Out” link, your information should be removed within 24 hours of verification of the opt-out requests.

California residents can choose to submit a California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) Data Deletion Request manually. This is a stronger opt-out option that purges your data rather than just removing it from public display.

However, just because you went through the peoplelooker opt-out process doesn’t mean your information is not available on many other people search engines and data broker sites. Opting out of peoplelooker doesn’t automatically opt you out of other data brokers sites. In addition, peoplelooker has many different data partners which, in some cases, can provide new information or a record about an individual who went through the opt-out process.

As a side note, if you happen to have a peoplelooker membership because you used the service yourself, you can cancel your account at any time.

What About Opting Out of Other Data Broker Sites?

You can manually opt out of each data broker site, but there are more than 100 other people search sites; therefore, going through the opt-out request for each site would take you a great deal of time and a lot of resources you most likely don’t have. Some of the major data brokers include instantcheckmate.com, intelius.com, mylife.com, peoplefinders.com, truthfinder.com, and many, many others.

In addition, by the time you’re done with each of the opt-out processes involved for each data broker website, your data will likely begin to appear again.

There are services available to automatically opt you out of not only peoplelooker, but also other data brokers and people search sites. There is, however, a fee to do this.

It’s important to remain vigilant when it comes to the type of information people can find out about you. If you want to stay under the radar, it’s important to do a search on yourself to see what information is available about you online. You can also use an online reputation management (ORM) firm to help you not only perform a digital audit on yourself and your company but also to help remove personal information on the sites of major data brokers.

To learn more about online privacy and how to protect your personal information from leaks on the web, contact EraseComplaints today at 888-600-7409.

 

What Is Nuwber People Search?

Learn about Nuwber people search and how you can protect your personal information in the digital environment.

There are many people search sites out there where you can find information online, including personal details about someone in whom you’re interested. Just as you can find out about the detailed personal information about a specific individual, people can also easily search you as well.

Nuwber is one of the many people search sites that you can use to find out information about individuals if you know their phone numbers, along with other methods. The site was founded in 2004, is a registered company located in Alexandria, Virginia, United States, and owned by Intelius, which has different people search websites. People search sites is a big business today.

In fact, Nuwber claims to have 7.5 million visitors monthly and professes to provide the most accurate and actual information possible.

The Goal of Nuwber

The idea behind Nuwber is to locate long lost friends or old friends, family members, or distant relatives. You may even want to vet a potential babysitter, learn more about your neighbors if you’re new to the area, or find out who the previous owners of a home are. Or perhaps you want the contact info of classmates to reconnect.

Nuwber gives you free access to information to help you connect.

On the flip side, however, the information found on Nuwber can also be used for nefarious reasons, such as identity theft. Your private information is also there for all to see, which can be intrusive and used against you by someone with a axe to grind. Plus, not everyone wants their information online.

So How Does Nuwber Work?

There are various ways you can look up a person on Nuwber — from inputting the person’s name to phone numbers and addresses. Let’s take a look at each option.

Search by Person’s First and Last Name

You can begin with a person search query if you know the first and last name in addition to the city and/or state in which they reside. You will be prompted along the way as the search engines recognize the city. The results are instant. The first page shows a list of names and variations of similar names, ages, current location, and previous locations.

Once you enter the first and last name of the person, Nuwber provides you with all the results that fully or partially match that information. For example, in a name search for Anne Jones in Santa Monica, CA, the site will provide you with results containing the first or last name Anne and the first or last name Jones. The search engine results will also provide you with the neighborhoods of these individuals in California. If no results for Santa Monica, CA come up, Nuwber will display the distance of each person in the search results from Santa Monica. You can refine the search with an age filter.

If you know family members names, this will make the process even easier to find who you are looking for.

On the other hand, even if you know very little about the person, you can potentially use what you have to locate them. If you only know the first name and the location, for example, Nuwber will return results based on location proximity. The people search results will prioritize the person with that first name who is closest to the location you’ve entered.

Search by Phone Number

You can also search by phone numbers to eventually make the phone calls you want and attempt to reach the individual. Maybe you remember a friend’s or family member’s landline number. Simply type the phone number along with the area code. Nuwber will tell you who owns the phone number now. This is also a fairly easy way to find someone.

Just click the phone tab above the homepage search bar and enter a valid landline number in the U.S. In seconds, you get the carrier and the current name associated with it. You’ll also get a list of previous owners and their current location under ‘phone number history’.

If you click on the profile of anyone associated with the number, you can also get additional information about them.

Nuwber says it has a comprehensive database of cell phone numbers and landlines. Also, if anyone has given their phone number to a company (which we do all the time), there is a good chance that your information is on Nuwber. Just check to see if your information is on Nuwber by doing a reverse phone lookup on its website. You may be surprised by what you find.

A reverse phone lookup may also be something business owners are interested in. Nuwber as well as other third-party data suppliers can be used to find contact information for potential customers or partners. Reverse phone lookup can also be used to identify unknown callers.

Search by Area Phone Code

You can always browse records by state or phone code. Simply do a Nuwber lookup to see a list of states and phone area codes. Click an area code to reveal a list of landline prefixes, the county, city, and phone carrier. You’ll find full phone numbers on the next level, along with the names and ages of people linked to the number.

In addition, each name will reveal a summary of all the potential information held about the person. Most importantly, the full address is often visible, which is all you might need in order to locate someone.

Search by Address

You can opt to utilize the Nuwber Address Search — a reverse address lookup — if you know the address of someone you want to locate. Nuwber will search millions of addresses to locate the exact person you’re looking for.

The first search result is a map feature, followed by a list of possible current and former residents. Each may include information such as age and date of birth, phone number, gender, education level, and marital status. It also displays the length of residence and a few other details, if available.

Another section is labeled ‘Background reports,’ and it includes information on previous residents, all known locations, and a list of relatives.

The neighborhood information can be useful. It includes information such as the number of households and the oldest buildings, as well as the average home price and the average age of residents. There is also a wealth of information about nearby amenities, some of which can be easily verified on Google and may have been derived from there. This is good for people checking out potential neighborhoods for a house purchase.

What Type of Personally Identifiable Data Is Available?

Nuwber also provides a comprehensive background check that goes far beyond what is provided for free. The type of information you can obtain, depending on the person, includes public records, address history, driving records, social profiles, and court records:

  • Name, full address, and telephone number
  • Maps
  • Age and date of birth
  • Occupation and business records
  • Spouses and relatives
  • Marriages and divorces
  • Credit rating and net worth
  • Property value and purchase price
  • Past properties and addresses
  • Criminal records
  • Liens, bankruptcies, and judgments
  • Eviction records
  • Professional licenses
  • Social media accounts

A profile page may also include personal info like the individual’s horoscope, occupation, and medical status.

How Does Nuwber Get People’s Info?

Nuwber uses government records, public records, commercial data sources, self-reported information, White Pages listings, an address directory, and social networks to compile background information on U.S. citizens. This is all legal and, as with any other records provider, doesn’t require permission to post any contact information, according to the site.

The database, just as with any other data brokers, pulls from billions of public records to find the person or people you’re looking for. Third-party data suppliers like financial services companies are also a source of information.

It’s important to note that Nuwber people search specifies in its website terms and conditions that it is not a consumer reporting agency as defined by the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) and does not provide consumer reports or conduct any credit monitoring. The site specifies that the information found also cannot be used for employment or housing decisions, tenant screening, insurance underwriting, or account reviews.

Do You Have to Pay to Utilize Nuwber?

Nuwber people search is a free tool that gives you free access to look up people’s phone numbers. The free version allows you to see five pages of information. The subscription gives you unlimited access to all data on Nuwber.

You Searched Yourself and You Want Your Information Removed, How Do You Proceed?

You don’t want to be found on people search site Nuwber. How do people remove themselves from Nuwber? Via opt out requests. The process for such opt-out requests is as follows:

  1. Search for your listing on nuwber.com and make a copy of the URL.
  2.  Go to their opt-out website, https://nuwber.com/removal/link. Paste your listing’s URL, and enter your email address.

You’ll be sent to a confirmation page for your opt-out request.

Contacting Nuwber customer care directly is also an option as well. Contact Nuwber support team toll-free at (844) 912-1292. Or email Nuwber Customer Care at support@nuwber.com.

The Nuwber Customer Care works from 9:00am-9:00pm EST, Monday-Friday. If you have issues with the information on the site or with the opt-out process, you may be able to speak with a support manager.

What if Nuwber Doesn’t Remove Your Information?

There have been complaints to the Better Business Bureau (BBB) from people who have made opt out requests, including to Nuwber’s support team, asking that their information be removed. People are concerned about their information being exposed, including their email addresses on the dark web, which could indicate a data breach and identity theft.

When performing a search, however, they see that certain data still appears on the Nuwber site. Should this happen to you, if you have followed the opt-out instructions and Nuwber doesn’t remove your information, you can file a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC).

You can also sue Nuwber in state or federal court.

Contact an Online Reputation Management Firm

Another option is to consider using an online reputation management (ORM) firm to help you with the removal process. Additionally, note that if your information is available on Nuwber people search, it is most likely also available on other sites. Just go to Google or other search engines like Bing and Yahoo to see what information comes up about you and where this information is available. You’ll get a list of all of the websites that have your phone number and other info.

Not only can an ORM help you with removing unwanted personal information on various people’s search engine sites, but it can also assist you with search engine optimization (SEO) to enhance your reputation online with positive, relevant content.

To learn more about online privacy and how to protect your personal information from leaks on the web, contact EraseComplaints today at 866-904-4478.

CheckPeople Opt Out: How to Remove Your Public Records Online

CheckPeople, one of the largest digital databases of personal information, can sell your sensitive details to third parties and put you at risk of of fraud. Here’s how to complete a CheckPeople opt out request. 

In today’s digital age, it can seem difficult to control how much of your private life ends up online. From social media accounts to online dating accounts, there are plenty of ways you may want to have an online presence — but if you’ve ever done a search on your own name, you may be shocked to discover how much of your personal information shows up in the search results.

Much of this can be attributed to background check databases that house information like arrest reports, marriage and death certificates, phone numbers, and even addresses. Due to federal privacy laws, a website can list personal data and the burden is on your to opt out.

If you’ve stumbled across your information on CheckPeople, you may be wondering: How do I opt out of CheckPeople, and if I opt out, will my data be removed permanently? Is my data on other sites? Read on to learn about the history of these records sites, and your options when it comes to submitting an opt-out request.

How Does CheckPeople Work?

Perhaps you’re starting a new job, or seeking a roommate, or just nosy about a blind date — you may have encountered a website like CheckPeople before. With just the click of a button, you can look up anyone’s information via their people search tool. Simply type in a first and last name and you’ll be able to see dozens, if not hundreds, of records matching that name.

You can also search by reverse phone number. This pulls up personal details like address, phone number, and immediate and distant relatives. You can also see related social media accounts and online dating accounts, and contact information.

Beyond these intensely personal details, CheckPeople uses a proprietary algorithm to look up criminal records, civil records (such as child custody arrangements or personal injury lawsuits), bankruptcies, divorce records, liens, lawsuits, arrest and traffic reports, and sexual offender status. Users do need to pay for an account to access a comprehensive report with this type of data and receive unlimited searches.

They do note that their search engines must comply with the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) guidelines — insurance or credit history must follow state and federal law, and background checks related to employment must follow the FCRA guidelines.

Essentially, on just one site, you have the ability to run background checks on anybody you’d like. CheckPeople describes this ability as beneficial, as it can help protect you from unsavory or unsafe personal and business relationships and encourages people to look up neighbors and friends. But it also puts thousands of people at risk of fraud.

How Is Posting Criminal Records Legal?

The Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) of 1967 made everything from death certificates to divorce records to most criminal records part of the public domain. In 1996, an amendment to the Act made it even easier to access this type of information electronically.

In many U.S. states, criminal records are legally kept as part of the public record, and often posted online in local databases, where they are then pulled automatically onto larger online sites that sell peoples’ personal data. CheckPeople also pulls information from public resources like phone books and public social media accounts.

New legislation is starting to emerge on a state-by-state level to protect individuals from having their information uploaded and sold on these types of databases, but in most cases, you need to make a request on an opt out page to have your information removed.

The CheckPeople Opt-Out Process via the Opt Out Form

If you want to ensure that your information is deleted from CheckPeople, you’ll need to fill out an opt-out request on its site and follow these steps:

First, go to the following link: https://checkpeople.com/do-not-sell-info

Then, search for the records you want to remove by typing in your first and last name, as well as the city you’re located in, if possible. Complete the CAPTCHA and press “Search.” It’s likely that numerous records will appear matching the first and last name you entered. Confirm which one(s) you are trying to remove, and select “Remove record.”

It will ask you again for your information — first and last name and an email address. Re-enter both and submit request (by clicking “send confirmation email”). You’ll receive an email to that address asking you to “Confirm Opt Out Request” — click the confirmation link to do so. If you cannot find the email, be sure to check your spam folder.

Once all of those steps are completed, the CheckPeople opt-out process has begun. It can take 5 to 7 hours for the request to process, though it should take about 24-48 hours for your information to be removed.

Check back after 48 hours to see if your request has been processed by searching for your name via CheckPeople’s people search tool. You may need to clear your browser history to make sure you aren’t viewing a cached page, as the database updates every 24 hours.

If your record has still not been removed, follow up with a customer service representative at (800) 267-2122. An important note: Your name could still show up in relation to other peoples’ records, i.e., listing you as a neighbor.

If you want to opt out for family members: To complete the CheckPeople opt-out process for a family member or another person, you’ll need to complete the same opt out form and follow the above process, but ensure that you’re the authorized representative for that person.

The CheckPeople Opt-Out Process via Email

You can also begin the CheckPeople removal process by sending an email to support@checkpeople.com. Include the following personal information in your opt-out request: Your first and last name, date of birth, address, and a link to the record you wish to remove. Some online state that this is a more effective way to ensure a complete request rather than using the form.

Will They Post My Data Again?

CheckPeople states that once your removal request is completed, your records will not show up again. However, some people have found that, over time, their data resurfaces on CheckPeople, despite previous opt-outs. It can be useful to double check and confirm that your data has been removed year after year, especially since this data can spread to other sites.

Is There an Automated Opt Out Option?

Although there is no way to automatically opt out of CheckPeople, there are sites that will handle the request on your behalf — and make sure that your data stays deleted so that you don’t need to worry about CheckPeople removal in the future. Also, in addition to CheckPeople, there are numerous other background check sites that function similarly: posting your private records and requiring you to manually opt out in order to remove the data.

A website like OneRep, for instance, can find your public records on numerous sites and opt out on your behalf, ensuring online privacy. If you’re worried about the amount of personal data floating around the Internet and don’t have time to fill out dozens of opt-out requests, working with a third-party website may be the option for you.

Why the CheckPeople Opt Out Process Ultimately Matters

At the end of the day, it’s more than the mere annoyance it takes to “submit request” and search your inbox for that confirmation email — it’s a matter of privacy and protecting yourself against fraud. Although public records are, by nature, public, these massive databases make it easy for anyone to impersonate someone online, create financial documents in someone else’s name, or even make access to stalking easier.

Try the CheckPeople opt-out process for yourself by following the steps outlined above, and hopefully you’ll be able to successfully opt out. But since most background check sites are for-profit, they often don’t make the opt-out process easy, which is why working with a third-party company can be useful if you’re struggling to remove a record.

To learn more about online privacy and how to protect your personal information from leaks on the web, contact EraseComplaints today at 888-600-7409.

LexisNexis Opt Out Process

The LexisNexis opt out process can be confusing. Learn how to remove your information from the data broker site with our step-by-step guide.

LexisNexis: The People Search Engine

Around since the 1970s, LexisNexis is a massive data repository and aggregator that collects and sells personal data. It houses millions of records across various niches of data, both public and private, and has become one of the main players in data analytics and aggregation for industries around the world.

The company’s public records database includes more than 84 billion public records from more than 10,000 diverse sources. LexisNexis, according to its website, provides sensitive personal information to certain customers such as law enforcement agencies, federal homeland security departments, banking, and financial services companies and insurance carriers, lawyers, and state and local governments. It sells about 150 different reports on consumers.

For example, a life insurance company will use LexisNexis Risk Solutions in helping to underwrite a policy and determine a person’s risk based on certain available information that LexisNexis provides. In fact, every insurance carrier that says it checks a customer’s “consumer report” is principally using LexisNexis consumer data. Insurers and other entities use LexisNexis to check an individual’s digital life.

What Type of Information Does Data Broker LexisNexis Provide?

Data broker LexisNexis offers access to a variety of publicly available information, public records, and non-public information including legal documents, a police report, and other information.

A LexisNexis Full File Disclosure, which is similar to credit report data, reveals information about your professional and financial life. The company will provide cell phone numbers, business contact records, name and address combinations, and motor vehicle registrations, just to list some of the data available.

A LexisNexis background report will show the following information:

  • Criminal Offenses
  • Bankruptcies
  • Liens
  • Court Protective Order
  • Personal Property Ownership
  • Professional Licenses
  • Weapons License
  • Mortgages

How Does LexisNexis Get the Information It Sells to Entities?

LexisNexis collects data from consumer-oriented data sources and databases across the country and compiles it into one central location, allowing underwriters and others to learn more about a person’s overall financial situation than just a credit report. Much of the information contained in these reports comes from federal, state, and county databases.

However, not everyone wants this information available. So how can you opt out of LexisNexis?

What Is the LexisNexis Opt-Out Process?

Individuals may request, in accordance with legal requirements or if permitted by LexisNexis policy, to opt out of having personal information about themselves made available through certain LexisNexis products and services. These requests are known as “Information Suppressions.”

Reasons for LexisNexis Opt Out

You Don’t Want to Get Insurance and Credit Solicitations

SageStream, which is part of LexisNexis, is permitted by the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) to include your name and address on prescreening lists that creditors and insurers use to send unsolicited offers of credit or insurance.  If you don’t want to receive these unsolicited offers, you can request your name and address be removed from these SageStream prescreens.

The opt out of LexisNexis process involves the following options:

  1. Submit your request securely, online by completing the Opt-Out Election Form
  2. Submit the completed Opt-Out Election Form by mail to: LexisNexis Risk Solutions Consumer Center, P.O. Box 105108, Atlanta, Georgia 30348-5108.
  3. Call toll free at: 888-395-0277.

Opting out of unwanted solicitations will not, however, impact your ability to obtain insurance or your credit.

You’ve Been a Victim of Identity Theft

According to the LexisNexis Information Suppression program, public and elected officials, including law enforcement officers, as well as private individuals who face a significant risk of physical harm or are victims of identity theft, may request that personal information about themselves be removed from LexisNexis products and services available to subscribers of the company’s public records products. LexisNexis reserves the right to determine whether it will honor the request.

If you select identity theft as the reason in the LexisNexis opt-out process, the LexisNexis Consumer Center will send you a package requiring you to complete additional information. It could take up to 30 days to process your LexisNexis opt out request.

The following is the supporting documentation the LexisNexis opt-out process requires for victims of identity theft, as outlined by the data broker platform:

  • Submit a copy of the police report or documentation that verifies the identity theft claim, such as a letter from your credit card company and an Identity Theft Affidavit; or
  • A law enforcement officer or a public official must submit a letter from his or her employer stating that your job puts you in danger of death or serious physical harm; or
  • If you are in danger of physical harm but are not a member of law enforcement, submit a copy of a court protective order, a copy of a police report, or similar documentation, such as a letter from a shelter administrator or a health care professional.

To opt out of LexisNexis, send your supporting documents to the following:

Note: Opting out will not affect your LexisNexis credit score.

Your LexisNexis Opt-Out Request Can Be Denied

LexisNexis does reserve the right to determine whether it will honor your opt-out request. If it denies your suppression request, LexisNexis will notify you. In addition, LexisNexis does not delete information from databases that are used by law enforcement, according to their privacy policy. 

You can also file a fact act dispute request with LexisNexis if there is erroneous information showing up on your credit file or in public records. If you don’t hear from the company or the issues aren’t resolved after 30 days you can sue LexisNexis for damages.

The LexisNexis opt-out process is fairly simple but you need to stay on top of it if you don’t hear from the company,

To learn more about online privacy and how to protect your personal information from leaks on the web, contact EraseComplaints today at 888-600-7409.

Our Complete Guide to CheaterLand.com

Learn all about CheaterLand.com and tips for protecting your online privacy with our guide. 

It’s bad enough when any relationship, including a marriage goes south. There is pain and regret from the fallout of a relationship that has soured. Some people move on, while others don’t, and things can get pretty ugly, particularly if there are allegations of cheating. In an ideal situation, everyone wants their personal life kept private. But there are sites out there that encourage people to air their dirty laundry.

For example, there is a site called CheaterLand.com where vengeful ex-spouses and ex-lovers post defamatory content to hurt the person they believe did them wrong. The defamatory posts on CheaterLand.com and other cheater websites, including recent comments related to the posts, end up on search engines for people to find which can ruin an individual’s personal reputation. Whether the accusations are true or not, once they are on CheaterLand.com and indexed on Google search, the world can see who has been labeled a cheater regardless of the circumstances or the truth.

Personal relationships are destroyed by the content posted on CheaterLand.com and other cheater sites.

What is CheaterLand.com?

CheaterLand.com began in 2010, initially as LiarsandCheatersRUs.com. It’s basically a website where those who feel they’ve been wronged can report on ex-spouses and ex-lovers who allegedly cheated on them. It doesn’t matter if the information is true or not.

Users are encouraged to report cheaters and liars, with the website promoting itself as “a forum for closure, transparency, and justice.” CheaterLand.com hosts a forum for individuals to share stories of infidelity and deception, imploring users to “Report a Cheater” and upload supporting photos.

CheaterLand.com in reality ends up being a place for people to post defamatory content and ruin someone’s online reputation, which can have devastating consequences for business owners, executives, and high-profile individuals. Online defamatory content can ruin personal relationships and future business deals. A negative post, false content, and malicious remarks can end up in search engines so that when someone decides to find out more information about an individual, the defamatory online content shows up, putting a person’s character into question.

Cheaterland.com and other similar sites like CheatersandBastards.com end up being a cesspool for online defamation and character assassination, irreparably tarnishing one’s offline and online reputation. In addition to false statements, your name and other personal identification information are broadcasted to the world.

Defining Defamatory Content

Defamation, according to legal principle, include statements that the person:

  • is involved in, or has engaged in criminal activity
  • possesses a “loathsome disease,” such as an STD
  • is unchaste or has engaged in sexual misconduct, or
  • has acted improperly in the course of conducting their business, trade, or profession

CheaterLand.com and Online Reputation Damage

The consequences of a defamatory post and other offensive content made against individuals on CheaterLand.com and other similar sites include:

  • Loss of business and career opportunities
  • Potential financial loss
  • Potential firing from a job
  • Dissolution of partnerships
  • Loss of customers
  • Mistrust in personal relationships
  • Emotional distress and depression
  • Stigmatization among colleagues, peers, and your community

Remove Defamatory Posts from Cheaterland.com

So, what can you do about the fallout from defamatory statements and information posted about you on websites like CheaterLand.com? How can you remove content from Cheaterland.com? Can you take legal action against these websites?

First, it’s important to note that, unfortunately, cheater websites are not illegal. Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act (CDA) protects these sites and provides immunity from liability for interactive computer service platforms that publish information posted by third parties. Unlike revenge porn, which is illegal in the majority of states, user-generated content platforms are not illegal because they do not create the original content or product. They are simply facilitating the posting of the content.

Contact the Site Owner

You can try to hold the site owner of Cheaterland.com responsible for removing posts and your private information, but it’s highly unlikely they will do so as they are protected under the CDA. CheaterLand.com says it would consider content removal from its website for:

  • Posts containing photos or details about children
  • Nude pictures taken without the knowledge or consent of the person portrayed
  • Content that violates the provisions of the law or any competent court’s jurisprudence
  • Content that belongs to someone else and is collected without permission

Try Getting Your Ex to Remove the Post

You can also try to convince the who made the negative post to remove it as individuals are not protected by the CDA, but this is an arduous process and will most likely fall on deaf ears as he or she is the one making the allegations and are out “to right a wrong,” for revenge, or even use the post as a bargaining tool, such as in the case of a custody battle.

You can opt to sue the author of the post, but you have to prove the content is false and this may lead to additional private information being made public.

Contact a Lawyer

Another option is to reach out to lawyers who can help you remove posts on CheaterLand.com and similar cheating websites. A lawyer may be able to work to permanently remove private information, including malicious accusations. This approach could be costly, as legal fees add up very quickly.

Effective Removal Resolution to Get Your Online Reputation Back Intact

Online reputation management (ORM) firms can help you with post removal from Cheaterland.com by getting this type of content to no longer appear in search engines like Google, Bing, and Yahoo. You can get the content suppressed with an effective positive content strategy in place so that users on the Internet do not see it. The content is relegated to pages further down in the search index (pages 2, 3, etc.) which typically are not viewed. It’s the content on page one that most Internet visitors, including HR personnel and business associates, view when looking to find out more information about an individual.

This approach doesn’t involve what it will cost to take legal action against CheaterLand.com and other cheater sites. The process to suppress this information, however, takes SEO expertise and the ability to identify the type of content search engines deem relevant in order to rank high on the search index. ORMs are experienced in creating such content in order to remove posts and information detrimental to one’s reputation. A professional ORM will also help get your reputation back on track.

The team at EraseComplaints.com is experienced in deleting and suppressing negative content, including defamatory information that can ruin one’s reputation. Your online information is far too important to be compromised by a former spouse or lover looking to take aim where it will hurt you the most: your reputation.

To learn more about protecting your online privacy with negative content removal strategies, contact EraseComplaints today at 888-600-7409.

How Much Does it Cost to Remove a Yelp Review?

How much does it cost to remove a Yelp review? What can business owners do to build a great reputation on the Yelp platform? These questions and more will be addressed in the following guide. 

Writing a Yelp review provides individuals the opportunity to share their experiences, good or bad. Consumers are able to get an idea as to how well, or badly, a particular establishment or company is viewed by people who have experienced their products or services first hand. The success of a restaurant, hotel, spa, or other retailers, along with those providing professional services such as real estate agents, physicians, lawyers, family offices, interior designers, architects, etc., often hinges on the amount of positive or negative reviews they receive online.

Obviously, the more positive the review, the better for the business owner. A bad review, or one perceived as a negative review, will have an adverse effect. These reviews when reiterated and consumed by enough patrons and clients could potentially tank a business or operation, causing huge losses in revenue. Business owners should be concerned about negative reviews and what people write on Yelp and other sites.

So, the question becomes, What can businesses do when they receive bad reviews, or even worse, a false review?” Is there a system in place that allows one to remove bad reviews?

It might be a good starting point to give an overview of Yelp’s popularity, its reviews policies, and to investigate Yelp guidelines to determine if a) this is possible to accomplish, and b) at what cost?

The Popularity of Yelp

Yelp continues to be considered a highly trusted source for local business reviews and ratings. There is a good reason for this. Every month, 142 million people visit Yelp. According to a FreshChalk study, Yelp ranks in the top five search results for 92% of Google web queries that include a city and a business category. Only Google rivals it in local, location-based searches, and every business owner must consider Yelp’s influence when developing an online marketing strategy.

The main reason Yelp reviews appear at the top in search results s because the site has kept the number of spam and advertising links to a minimum. Yelp also provides in-depth, long-form reviews that give a comprehensive report on businesses that customers appreciate. Yelp also frowns upon fake reviews, hate speech, use of its platform to promote other businesses and services, or anything that constitutes a violation of its rules and practices.

Yelp understands businesses that are unfairly reviewed because of factual disputes are directly hurt. Yelp is far and beyond most competitors simply because it attempts to keep malicious content off of its site.

Keep in mind how Yelp users will write about your business on the site regardless of whether you activate a business page or not. This is why it’s in your best interest to take a proactive approach and set up your business’s Yelp page yourself. Ideally, you should include colorful pictures that showcase your business or services and provide useful information that will entice prospective customers into wanting to learn more about your business.

Do Business Owners Pay Yelp?

It’s important to understand that Yelp is a free and effective way to connect to potential customers with the businesses they’re searching for. But, there are plenty of ways to augment your own Yelp business listing. “Yelp for Business Owners” is an online platform where merchants manage their Yelp business listing. It offers free, as well as paid tools, intended to increase online search visibility.

These tools allow you to pay Yelp to customize your listing with a newsfeed and create your own posts to promote special events, time-sensitive discounts, or other special offers. Most businesses can benefit from these extra tools and services, helping them to boost their digital reputation while improving brand recognition on the review site.

Unfortunately, Yelp has been accused of using its platform to extort money from business owners. In fact, “pay to play” schemes that only benefit a company if the business owners pay Yelp have resulted in several class-action lawsuits. The short answer is that while advertising can help you stand out from your competitors on the Yelp site, but not if a conflict of interest is preventing Yelp from treating non-paying customers fairly.

Yelp Advertising Available

While it’s totally free to set up a Yelp business page, which allows you to display your business name, address, contact information, and other critical information, as well as receive ratings and user reviews from customers for the general public and everyone else to see, investing in the additional features that Yelp has to offer can make a substantial difference.

The average monthly cost of advertising on Yelp, should you make full use of its features, is a little under $1,000, and includes these features:

  • PPC Advertising: Points Per Click (PPC) will position your business name and Yelp profile at the top of search results for related keywords.
  • Target Audience: This allows you to define your target audience, and then direct ads to them on the basis of location and keyword.
  • Custom Ads: You can customize the ad model and reach, depending on your goals and budget.
  • Tracks Results: Yelp works in sync with your business goals by tracking the results of your campaigns and key metrics on its dashboard.
  • Budget Setting: You can pay Yelp as little as $5 per day to get your ad started. You also have the option to adjust the budget or pause the ad campaign any time you want.

Yelp Looks for Accurate, Fair Reviews

When writing a review on the Yelp page, it’s important for customers to write a fair and accurate description of their experience. After all, no one wants to be the victim of false reviews bent solely on hurting the establishment, but unfortunately, this can be the case. Yelp is a consumer-focused platform that allows people to share their views about how well run a business is and how personable and knowledgeable and caring the owners and workers are in any given scenario.

Writing Yelp Reviews without Bias

It’s important that anyone that writes a review does so without attempting to cause malicious damage to the business or its owner. Personal grievances should not be allowed to cloud one’s judgment. The Yelp reviews should be based solely on an actual encounter or experience where the reviewer is giving an honest assessment of what occurred, or what they experienced firsthand when engaged in using a particular business’ goods or services.

Ideally, the review should be written by the customer soon after the encounter, usually within 24-48 hours, while events are still clear and free of embellishments. Your opinion is important and your memory of your experience is vital to the accuracy of your review.

The writing should be engaging, and a bit colorful, so that the reader is intrigued and wants to continue reading the review. In the case of a good review, the consumer experience is likely to draw others to want to visit the establishment or make use of these services, hoping for a similar experience. When online reviews are positive, a business owner should immediately thank the client. When there are negative reviews, address any issues promptly and politely.

Bad Reviews: How Do I Get a Bad Yelp Review Removed?

This can be a tricky process, but in some instances, you can have bad reviews and negative reviews removed, depending on whether you follow Yelp’s terms. Here is a short list of such reviews that violate Yelp’s terms of service (TOS):

  • Writing a fake review or one deemed defamatory
  • Promoting local businesses or other commercial ventures within the review
  • Ranting about a business’s employment practices, political ideologies, or matters that don’t directly address the actual consumer experience

The removal of negative Yelp reviews lies solely upon its own algorithm. If a bad Yelp review doesn’t violate Yelp’s terms, one option is to publicly defend your business by countering the points brought up in the negative review, or try contacting the reviewer and attempt to convince him or to remove the offensive review. You might invite them to make a second visit, or negotiate your services, to have an opportunity to make things right.

Other Examples Where Yelp Deletes Reviews

There are instances where customer reviews can be flagged for removal by business owners. For example, marketing copy does not belong in a Yelp review and will be flagged and removed. Friends, relatives, or employees should leave online reviews about your business in an attempt to increase your ratings. Yelp will also flag or remove content they deem irrelevant including negative rants instigated by current or former employees.

Yelp’s User Operations team can remove customer reviews that are written about somebody else’s experience, as this is clearly an unfair approach to reviewing a business since the author didn’t base the review on his or her experiences. Yelp also reserves the right to remove reviews that have been copied and pasted from other sites, or have been posted previously by another user, along with reviews that violate any form of intellectual property.

Reviews on Yelp can substantially increase or decrease the amount of business you might receive, and obviously, the more positive reviews the better. In other words, every bad review posted to Yelp directly hurts your business prospects. It has been shown that one-star reviews can eliminate as much as 59% of new customers.

Every positive review helps, and every negative review can stand in the way of business growth.

Another thing that can and will certainly work in your favor is the Yelp reviews filter. This filter can help you to preserve your reputation by flagging the reviews that may violate the site’s internal policies.

How the Yelp Review Filter Helps Businesses

The Yelp review filter was designed by Yelp to help filter out fake reviews, which means customers will be basing their decisions on legitimate reviews. The filter gives preference to established reviewers, those that have reviewed multiple businesses and have fully created profiles, often dismissing reviews by reviewers with little or no profile information, write short reviews with little or no information or details, use profanity, or are slanted (either negatively or positively), and may have been written by questionable sources.

The filter’s accuracy has come into question, however, with businesses complaining that legitimate reviews have been taken down or moved to the lowest point on the thread. But still, having the filter to delete Yelp reviews that are bogus and violate the site’s terms is better than no filter at all. It provides the proper tool for removing obvious false reviews and negative reviews whose sole purpose is to discredit or harm a business by providing falsified information.

Paying to Remove Negative Reviews, Boosting Positive Reviews

There are services that can help you remove negative reviews your business might receive on Yelp. That’s because only 7% of reviews are removed by Yelp, which doesn’t bode well if you are trying to delete Yelp reviews on your own. Local businesses need help with managing and removing bad reviews.

If you’ve ever asked yourself, “how much does it cost to remove a Yelp review?”, the above sections on review removal can help you make informed decisions.

An Online reputation management (ORM) company like Erase Complaints can negotiate with Yelp to remove negative or bad reviews with the assistance of the Yelp support team. An ORM will monitor Yelp and other sites for negative reviews. It can also help in generating positive content, which in term can help to obtain positive reviews on Yelp and boost your reputation in Google search. The cost to do this will depend on the strategy recommended.

To learn more about review removal and how to get the most from your third-party review site profiles, contact EraseComplaints today at 888-600-7409.

How to Remove Online Defamation That’s Hurting Business

Learn how to remove online defamation once and for all to protect your business reputation on the web. 

The internet and social media have upped the game when it comes to being a breeding ground for fake news, misleading information and false and defamatory content that could damage a business’s offline and online reputation. A former employee, for example, may feel his or her firing was wrongful and post defamatory content that shows up in search results when individuals look for information about your company. A customer may be unhappy with your product and disparage it, or allege you are responsible for an accident or an incident that occurred and post negative content online.

With so much content available on the internet — from social media platforms to content-aggregation sites and online commentary — it’s difficult for consumers to separate fact from fiction and determine what are false statements. In fact, there are websites built to encourage and incentivize the dissemination of sensational information, with no fact-checking or regulation involved.

To keep a positive online reputation, businesses should have an online reputation management plan in place that can remove defamatory content from the internet, and help to continue to maintain a credible and trusted brand.

How Search Engines Work

Let’s take a quick look at how a search engine works when an individual is looking to find out more about a business before purchasing a product or service, going to a restaurant or hotel, investing money, seeking law advice, choosing a physician, etc.

A search engine like Google operates by crawling billions of pages with web crawlers that they have developed. These are also known as search engine spiders or bots. A search engine spider then navigates the web by following links on newly discovered web pages to locate new pages, and so on.

A search engine uses proprietary algorithms for content to appear at the top of the search results page. Some prioritize content quality, while others prioritize user experience and link building.

If, for example, someone writes a bad review on an authoritative site (like Yelp) about a company or tweets a post about a CEO’s actions or inactions, it could well appear in the search results. Even worse, if there are posts accusing individuals of being drug abusers or crooks, these allegations could end up appearing prominently in their individual results and company results.

Paying attention to search engine results, therefore, is critical in ensuring a positive reputation and removing defamatory content.

What Is Online Defamation/Social Media Defamation

Online defamation is typically defined as a false, published statement injurious to the plaintiff’s reputation. Social media defamation is a false statement of fact about a third party published on a social media website, platform, or app like Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram.

Some of the most common ways that someone can be defamed on social media include:

  • Defamatory statements made on a person’s Facebook profile
  • Negative content or a fake photo posted in a Facebook group
  • A negative tweet posted on a person’s Twitter profile or company’s Twitter page
  • Fake Facebook business page reviews
  • Negative comments on a blog post, video, or tweet, etc.
  • Fake Instagram photo and/or caption
  • A fake video uploaded to YouTube or TikTok

Impact on Business of Defamatory Content Online

You may think who pays attention to what is being said online or it’s a matter of free speech and there isn’t much you can do about defamatory content lodged against you and/or your company. But the impact of negative content about you or your business is far-reaching:

  • Your personal and business reputation will suffer. Your coworkers, friends, and family members may read or hear about the negative content, and if they believe what is being said, your reputation and relationships could be irreparably damaged. Internet defamation and negative content will also impact prospective business relations. Anyone with whom you’re interested in doing business with will perform due diligence to find out more about your business as well as about you. If negative, defamatory content is out there, you could well lose new and existing business opportunities.
  • Loss of revenue and profits. Potential customers may believe malicious lies and avoid doing business with you if defamatory statements about your company exist online. This includes false or disputed accusations of wrongdoing, false online reviews, or the airing of personal laundry online (like a divorce or custody case).
  • Mental health issues. The negative consequences for your reputation, relationships, and professional life may also have an impact on your well-being. Dealing with unseemly accusations or negativity in general takes a toll on individuals. Many victims of defamation suffer from stress, anxiety, and depression.

What Can You Do About Defamatory Content?

Hire Internet Attorneys

You could threaten to file a lawsuit and have an attorney send a well-written letter asking for the offending content to be removed by the party. If you get no response, you may then consider taking legal action and hire an experienced attorney in internet defamation to file a defamation lawsuit. Internet defamation lawyers may file civil liability lawsuits against the individual who defamed you. This, however, will be quite expensive as you will incur significant legal fees. In the end, you may not be successful in winning the suit or getting a court order for content removal.

Individuals who have been victimized by online defamation have also opted to sue their Internet Service Provider (ISP) or the website that hosts the defamatory content in question, such as Facebook, Google, or Yelp. These sites owned by large corporations have deep pockets, which is why individuals go after them in the first place. But a defamation attorney and his/her legal team will be costly for you to see your legal claims through to fruition. It’s prudent to first ask for a free consultation on your potential defamation case to see if it would be worth taking legal action and inquire about the legal costs involved.

It’s important to note that while the First Amendment protects freedom of speech, it still allows individuals who publish false statements to be sued for defamation. However, you will not succeed in an online defamation claim if the defendant’s defamatory content is true. It has to be a knowingly false statement that was made for defamation claims to have any traction.

Also, social media and review sites are not legally obligated to remove defamatory content. Under internet marketing law, the sites are protected from defamation lawsuits as per Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act.

You can also contact the owner of the website where the negative content resides or the content provider or domain provider to ask if they will remove the information from the source.

Flag Harmful Content

In some cases, you can report or flag negative material and request defamatory content be removed as long as the content violates the social media site’s terms of service or standards. This includes no nudity, violent content, racist remarks, and bullying statements. You will have to explain why it’s considered internet defamation. Unfortunately, social media sites often don’t want to take a stance on what is being posted nor do they want to judge what is defamatory content or not. They will leave it up to the legal system to issue a court order to remove the content. In the meantime, the content continues to come up in internet search results while you wait for a decision to be made.

If you can prove a copyright violation, trademark infringement, or content consisting of infringing material, Google will remove content from its search results (per the DMCA takedown notice). Google, however, frequently places a message at the bottom of the search result page informing the online world what was done.

Remove Online Content from the Internet

You can hire a professional online reputation management (ORM) company for content removal of defamatory material and put into place a content strategy designed to garner positive results for yourself and your business. First and foremost, an ORM will conduct a thorough online search of your business and senior management. Google’s search results, as well as the results of other search engines, will provide a clear picture of the firm’s online reputation as well as vet any negative content.

The ORM will continually monitor your digital presence across numerous websites and in online searches to identify potential threats and alert you to any negative content or libelous statement. There are several ways to remove online defamation from the internet including adopting a strategy that identifies and promotes positive content to overtake the negative material that comes up in search engine results. Here are a couple of tactics:

  • Analyze existing content, including its search engine optimization (SEO), on social media, blogs, articles, and Wikipedia. Understand what people are searching for and what the search engines deem worthy of high-page ranking in, for example, Google search results. What makes specific content rank better than other materials?
  • Create high-quality and relevant content for the business that will begin to replace the negative content (business complaints, intentionally false statements, etc.) online. For example, perhaps you are very involved in a specific charity but there isn’t much about this. Content (press releases, blogs on your website, posts on company social media pages) around your philanthropic work will be developed. Articles related to your expertise will also be written and published in online well-established magazines. Bios will be updated and optimized and posted online. The goal is to get Google and the others to consider more factors when determining what goes on page one of search results.

It’s also important to promote new content to help with getting positive info online. Realize this takes time and expertise, but an experienced ORM will guide you through the strategies it will employ.

One thing you can do on your own is to consider adjusting your social media privacy settings on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc. The more data that is private, the harder it is to access confidential information by bad actors who want to cause you harm. Also, be thoughtful about what you share on your social media networks. Think before you make a comment, even if what you have to say is true and you’re trying to set the record straight. There are so many internet trolls today just ready to pounce and cause havoc.

To learn more about online privacy and how to remove online defamation on the web, contact EraseComplaints today at 888-600-7409.