What to Do If You Are Posted to an ‘Are We Dating the Same Guy?’ Group Featured Image

What to Do If You Are Posted to an ‘Are We Dating the Same Guy?’ Group

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Are We Dating the Same Guy” groups are becoming increasingly popular on Facebook. They can be a way for women to support and protect each other—but they can also lead to online harassment, defamation, and doxxing. Being unfairly targeted and shamed in one of these groups can put your personal and professional life at risk.

If you are being defamed or harassed in an “Are We Dating the Same Guy?group on Facebook, we recommend taking the following steps:

  • Determine if you have an actionable claim against the poster,
  • Preserve evidence of the post and related comments,
  • Refrain from engaging further with the poster and commenters,
  • Lock down your social media profiles to prevent further harassment,
  • Report the post or profile for Terms of Service violations, and
  • Work with an experienced internet defamation attorney.

At Minc Law, we have extensive experience navigating defamation, harassment, and doxxing on popular social media platforms. We can help you remove defamatory online content, identify anonymous posters to hold them accountable, and put an end to online harassment.

In this article, we provide information on “Are We Dating the Same Guy?” (AWDTSG) Facebook groups and why they may be problematic. We then explain what to do if one of these group posts targets you.

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Understanding the “Are We Dating the Same Guy?” Groups on Facebook

The first “Are we dating the same guy?” group was created in March 2022 as a way to crowdsource information about potential cheaters in New York City. The group also allowed women to warn each other about men they thought were predatory, toxic, or dangerous.

Over the last year, these AWDTSG Facebook groups have sprouted up in almost every major city in the U.S., with a few international locations like London, Paris, and Dubai. AWDTSG groups are very popular—and many have more than 20,000 members.

Rules for Joining & Posting in These Groups

At Minc Law, we receive frequent calls from men who have discovered posts about themselves in an AWDTSG Facebook group. However, they cannot join to see the post for themselves (or defend against untruthful attacks).

“Are we dating the same guy?” groups are typically reserved for women; men are usually not allowed to join. To join an AWDTSG group, users must answer questions about the group’s rules and their motivations for joining.

When users create a new post in one of these groups, they usually post anonymously. A typical post includes a photo of a man (often taken from his dating profile), his first name, and short, vague text (e.g., “Any tea?” or “🚩🚩 see comments”). The poster then adds more context about the individual, if any, in the comments.

Most AWDTSG groups do not allow posts containing:

  • Negative words or accusations in the post images or text;
  • Controversial content (like religion, politics, or solicitation),
  • “Hot takes” or any content that might be flagged as argumentative; or
  • Personal or contact information (e.g., last names, phone numbers, employers, or social media handles).

These groups also usually prohibit users from screenshotting and sharing group posts outside of the group. Users are only allowed to comment about a man if they have personal experience with him. Cracking jokes, making looks-based comments, and speculating are generally prohibited. Most group rules also ban bullying, harassment, and defamation.

Why “Are We Dating the Same Guy?” Groups May Be Problematic

AWDTSG groups are meant to be a safe space for women to protect and empower each other while warning of men who might exhibit toxic or dangerous behavior. However, they are also a potential platform for spreading misinformation.

In some situations, “Are we dating the same guy?” groups may be doing more harm than good. For example, a user seeking retribution against an ex could post a completely fabricated story—and there is no way to be sure a member is telling the truth.

While group admins approve or deny initial posts, they cannot monitor every comment. Group rule violations can—and do—often go unnoticed, causing harm to the posts’ subjects.

Below, we cover four potential negative consequences of being the target of an AWDTSG group post:

Defamation

Because most posts in AWDTSG groups only include a first name, photo of an individual, and caption asking ‘Any tea?’ or ‘Any red flags?’—and each one must be approved by moderators—they are almost never defamatory. However, these posts’ comment sections are often breeding grounds for defamation and speculation.

For example, a commenter might write, “This guy has a rap sheet as long as my arm! He was arrested for assaulting his ex-wife last year.” If this statement is false and damages the reputation of the individual named in the post, then they may have a legal claim for defamation.

Doxxing

Doxxing (or doxing) happens when users share identifying information about their victim online—such as a full legal name, contact information, or employer. The purpose of doxxing is usually to encourage harassment or real-life harm against the individual.

For further reading, please see our comprehensive guide explaining ‘What to Do if You Have Been Doxxed’.

Invasion of Privacy

Invasion of privacy (also known as the publication of private facts) is the act of revealing personal information about someone’s life that is not a legitimate public concern.

For example, if a group user posts private information about an individual’s sexual orientation, financial problems, or marital strife, they may be liable for invasion of privacy.

Online Harassment & Cyberbullying

AWDTSG groups can often become hostile towards the subjects of group posts. This behavior may enter the realm of harassment and cyberbullying.

Harassment is repeated offensive behavior that causes distress or threatens the victim’s safety, while cyberbullying is online harassment that can devastate their mental health and overall well-being. Victims of harassment and cyberbullying may have legal recourse under state and federal anti-harassment laws.

Internet Defamation lawyer Checklist

What to Do If You Are Posted to an “Are We Dating the Same Guy?” Group on Facebook

AWDTSG group posts have the potential to cause various real-world consequences—from damaging your personal reputation to causing strife in your relationships to limiting your employment opportunities. In some serious cases, doxxing and harassment in these groups can even put your physical safety in danger.

If you are the subject of a defamatory post in an AWDTSG group, we recommend taking the following steps as soon as possible:

  • Determine if you have an actionable defamation claim,
  • Preserve evidence of the post and related comments;
  • Do not engage with the poster(s),
  • Lock down your social media profiles,
  • Report the post or profile for Terms of Service violations, and
  • Work with an experienced internet defamation attorney.

Determine if You Have an Actionable Claim

Not all negative or untruthful statements are defamatory. In order to qualify as defamation in most jurisdictions, a statement must meet the following conditions:

  • A false statement of fact concerning the plaintiff,
  • Communicated to a third party,
  • Communicated with at least a negligent level of intent, and
  • Demonstrably harmful to the plaintiff.

But before filing a lawsuit, you should be aware of the defenses to defamation that the defendant might use—like truth, opinion, or consent.

For example, if you initially gave the poster permission to share the information they communicated in the post, that fact weakens your case. Or if the post was published a few years ago, the statute of limitations might limit your ability to hold the poster accountable for their actions.

If you are being doxxed and harassed, you may also be able to file a claim against the defendant for invasion of privacy. To learn more about this legal claim, see our article on “Invasion of Privacy: Publication of Private Facts.” We also recommend checking out our Legal Resource Center’s harassment archives for state-by-state guides to online harassment laws.

Preserve Evidence of the Post & Related Comments

It is important to document proof of the harmful content as soon as possible. Since these AWDTSG groups are private, your attorney will not even be able to view the post unless you preserve evidence.

Important Note: If possible, obtain a direct link to the post from a member of the group. When approaching removal of images in AWDTSG posts at Minc Law, in order to submit a DMCA takedown notice, we need the direct link to the post. This is also needed in order to report a post to Facebook.

Preservation services like Page Vault are best, but if you do not have access to these tools, screenshots are also helpful. Capture as much information as possible—including the post and all related comments. It is also a good idea to click on the poster’s profile picture to take a screenshot of the user account page.

Be sure that each screenshot of a page includes the full URL. If the URL is too long to include in the screenshot, save it separately.

Do Not Engage Further With the Poster

If you see a post about yourself in one of these groups, it is natural to feel defensive. Your first instinct may be to reach out to the poster if you think you know who they are. Or if you have access to the group, you may feel the urge to comment directly on the post.

If the post and comments are characterizing you unfairly, it is natural to want to debunk the false rumors quickly before they damage your reputation any further.

But in our experience at Minc Law, engaging with the poster either on- or offline can do more harm than good.

Contacting users who have posted in the group may escalate the situation, alerting the admins that the post has been leaked and drawing even more harassment from group members. The original poster may even delete their post before you can capture evidence of its contents.

Also, even if you believe you know the poster’s identity, it is hazardous to accuse them without proof. It is best for a third party—like an attorney—to make contact so that the message comes from an unbiased and unemotional perspective.

Lock Down Your Social Media Profiles

We recommend that everyone should maximize their privacy settings on social media—but this advice is especially helpful if you are the target of an online attack. The more private your social media settings are, the harder it is for harassers to find your personal information and contact you.

At Minc Law, we have seen countless clients whose public social profiles left their information vulnerable to being shared or exploited maliciously.

Report the Post or Profile for Platform Terms of Service Violations

Most “Are We Dating the Same Guy?” groups have strict content rules, including:

  • No doxxing (such as using a man’s full name or listing his place of work),
  • No accusations or statements that would be considered defamation or bullying, and
  • No posting about a man unless you have personal experience with them or relevant information to share.

Despite the strict rules, many AWDTSG posts devolve into harmful accusations of offenses like cheating or pedophilia. Theoretically, you should be able to report these kinds of posts to group moderators and have them removed. And if the group moderators do not respond, you can try reporting defamatory content to Facebook itself.

We generally recommend reporting defamatory or harmful comments to the social media platforms where they were posted. These kinds of content often violate the Terms of Service (ToS), which means the moderators might take down the post or suspend the user.

In the context of AWDTSG groups, however, this tactic is a bit more complicated. It can be difficult for the subjects of these posts to make a report to the group moderators or Facebook. In most cases, men are not allowed in the group—so there is no way for them to report a harmful post unless a woman in the group does it for them.

If you have access to the group (or a friend in the group is willing to report a harmful post about you), see our article, “5 Legal Options if You Are Slandered on Facebook,” to learn more about Facebook reporting strategies.

Work With an Experienced Internet Defamation Attorney

Being defamed and harassed online is an isolating and confusing experience. Posts that violate group rules and Facebook’s ToS should be removed—but in many cases, these posts are not well-moderated. Shaming and doxxing in these groups are all too common.

Having a seasoned professional on your side can be invaluable. Consult with a lawyer who specializes in defamation law to help you understand your legal options and devise the best course of action for your unique situation.

An experienced internet defamation attorney can use a variety of legal strategies to help you fight back effectively, including:

Send a Cease & Desist Letter

When a user posts in an AWDTSG group, they usually post anonymously. The initial post is almost always submitted to and posted by the group administrators. In some cases, however, the poster’s real name appears in the comments below.

If you know the original poster’s identity, your attorney can send a cease and desist letter to put the defamer on notice that they must stop their behavior or face legal action. Such notices are often effective in convincing defamers to remove offensive content.

Unlike lawsuits, cease and desist letters do not require much money or time. But in order to be effective, they should be drafted by an experienced attorney. Templates and form letters are not comprehensive or specific enough to be convincing.

Send a DMCA Takedown Request

The Digital Millennium Copyright Act of 1998 (DMCA) protects your copyrighted material from being published online without your consent. If the offensive post contains images of you that you took or own, you can send a DMCA takedown notice to compel their removal.

As emphasized above, in order for us to send a DMCA takedown notice, we need you to provide us with a direct link to the post.

While a DMCA takedown notice will not remove the post as a whole or the comments attached, it can be used to remove the associated image. A DMCA takedown can potentially be useful if your main concern is that photos are being used to identify you.

Since most posts only include a photo and first name, this step may be a useful means of distancing you from the post and its comments.

Pursuing Legal Action to Remove the Content

Some posts in AWDTSG groups rise to the level of defamation, cyberbullying, and invasion of privacy. An experienced internet defamation attorney can review your legal options and, if necessary, file a lawsuit to compel the removal of harmful content.

It is extremely difficult to hold Facebook liable for defamation committed by users on the platform. Under Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, social media platforms may not be held liable for content posted by their third party users – unless one of several narrow exceptions applies. If an AWDTSG group member defames you on Facebook, you should not sue Facebook itself. Instead, the best course of action is to sue the individual who made the defamatory statement.

In some cases, litigation may be necessary if you do not know the identity of the poster. You can file a John Doe lawsuit to unmask an anonymous defamer—to strive to hold them accountable for their actions.

You should also act quickly and be aware of the statute of limitations involved in your claim(s). For instance, most states require defamation lawsuits to be filed within one year after the offending post was published. To learn more, see our article: What is the Statute of Limitations for My Defamation Claim?

We Can Help You Explore Options For Removal From “Are We Dating the Same Guy?” Facebook Groups

While finding yourself defamed, harassed, or posted about in an AWDTSG group can be distressing, you do have options. We are here to help.

When it comes to removing this type of content from Facebook, we recommend working with an experienced internet defamation attorney who can help you explore the legal options and remedies available to you.

★★★★★
“Absolutely phenomenal. Michael took care of every single issue of defamation. I was concerned about wording because of the public nature of all parties involved, but Michael had open communication and approval from me all along the way. I will suggest him to absolutely anyone.”

KD

June 21, 2022

At Minc Law, we offer paid consults starting at $500 for ‘Are We Dating the Same Guy?’ matters. Reach out to schedule your consultation with an intake specialist by calling us at (216) 373-7706, speaking with a Chat Representative, or filling out our online contact form.

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