Table of Contents
- What is CheatersCatcher.com?
- Five Key Issues With CheatersCatcher.com’s User-Generated Content
- The Consequences of Having Your Name on CheatersCatcher.com
- How to Protect Your Online Reputation From Defamatory Attacks
- How to Report False Information on CheatersCatcher.com
- Work With a Defamation Removal Attorney to Remove Yourself From CheatersCatcher.com
What is CheatersCatcher.com?
The global reach of The Internet now allows every individual user to have a voice and opinion, albeit not always an appropriate or well-grounded one. Platforms of expression have manifested themselves in various forms, and with the rising popularity of internet dating websites and applications, the “yin” to the dating world “yang” has taken form in CheatersCatcher.com and other “cheater awareness” websites.
CheatersCatcher.com is a website that encourages users to expose and report past infidelities and questionable behavior of past boyfriends, girlfriends, husbands and wives. The purpose, to put offending parties publicly on blast and warn others of their indiscretions. CheatersCatcher.com is just one of many websites created to expose and shed light on unfaithful significant others and spouses. To name a few, such other sites include:
Although most of these websites are founded with good intentions, there is still great room for user abuse through the posting and reporting of false and inaccurate information. After all, “hell hath no fury” like a “lover” scorned, and users oftentimes exaggerate or lie about an ex spouse or significant other. The veil of internet anonymity gives users a sense of invincibility and protection, leading to potentially disastrous consequences for you and your reputation.
Defamation Law Fact: The most common defense to defamation is “truth,” and defendants can only be held liable if a written or spoken statement is false. Courts will often overlook small details that are false, as long as they don’t affect the overall veracity of the statement.
Five Key Issues With CheatersCatcher.com’s User-Generated Content
There are numerous issues with CheatersCatcher.com’s user generated content, namely their lack of vetting and verification. The site’s motto, “We catch them wherever they hide!” promotes a site lacking proper checks and balances to regulate potentially defamatory and false information. The cavalier and mean spirited nature of the site opens up the floodgates for abuse and destruction of innocent persons’ reputation.
The following five issues make CheatersCatcher.com highly susceptible to abuse, defamatory postings, and the circulation of false information:
- No formal account creation: CheatersCatcher.com fails to require users to link an email address to their account. At the bare minimum, websites providing a platform for persons to voice their opinion, and experiences about their past relationships and spouses, should require users to use a functioning email when signing up. The lack of formal sign up provides users with a sense of invincibility, through this anonymous registration.
- Lack of user accountability: Along with a lack of formal email verification and signup, CheatersCatcher.com does not require users to link their account to their social media profiles. Linking an account to a social media profile acts as an important deterrent to false, libelous, and defamatory postings. Once someone’s name is tied and traceable to their account, their once hidden identity becomes public. With potential real-world repercussions, users are less likely to post false information and accusations.
- Lack of user guidelines and content regulation: CheatersCatcher.com fails to provide users with guidelines for the types of content allowed on the site. Without a structured guideline of what is and isn’t allowed, users may “run wild” with accusations and posts, creating a toxic untrustworthy environment. For example, websites should never allow certain personally identifiable information to be posted on their website, including personal phone numbers, addresses, social security numbers, medical information, and private financial information. CheatersCatcher.com fails to regulate any of the aforementioned content, putting your reputation, and possible safety, in danger.
- No site contact information: There isn’t so much as a single email address linking someone to the site. Without a person to be held accountable for the content posted, the site has become a wild west forum for vigilante justice.
- Non-existent removal policies: Most importantly, CheatersCatcher.com lacks even a basic safeguard for removing false and defamatory posts, an integral requirement for websites that offer such a platform to air grievances, opinions, and facts. Without such a mechanism in place, you risk more future false postings, and worse, having the defamatory information permanently remain online.
The lack of basic oversights and safeguards on CheatersCatcher.com make it an irreputable website, where false accusations and information run rampant. A person’s reputation and livelihood should not be determined by anonymous internet posters who aren’t held accountable for the things they write.
Defamation Law Tip: Make sure you understand that defamation law is often broken up into two categories: (1) libel, written defamatory statements, and (2) slander, spoken defamatory statements.
The Consequences of Having Your Name on CheatersCatcher.com
Having your name and reputation placed in question on a cheating website can have severe consequences for not only your personal life, but your professional life too. Some possible consequences include:
|Personal Life||Professional Life|
|Destruction and breakdown of your current relationship||Boss and colleagues becoming privy to personal details|
|Ruining of future relationship opportunities||Loss of employment and future employment opportunities|
|Family and friends becoming privy to your personal life and details||Condemnation by your boss and coworkers|
|Being painted as a sexual deviant, or the imputation of having a loathsome disease||Loss of business and customers|
Cheating scandals in the world of the rich and famous seem to be made public every other day. But, more often than not, the online accusations of infidelity against celebrities turn out to be nothing more than accusations and a “juicy” story.
Cameron Diaz and The Sun
In 2005, Cameron Diaz recovered “substantial” libel damages after U.K. based tabloid newspaper The Sun claimed Diaz was in a relationship with a married man. At the time, Diaz was dating Justin Timberlake, and was said to be out kissing a fellow colleague and father of one.
Diaz brought suit claiming defamation and damage to her personal and professional reputation, causing distress to not only her, but her boyfriend JT. Not long after the case was brought against The Sun, they retracted their statements and issued an apology to Diaz.
Two years later, Diaz settled with a second defendant in the case, U.S. based American Media Inc., owner of The National Enquirer. The settlement affirmed companies that publish both in the U.K. and the United States may open themselves up to American plaintiffs taking advantage of lenient U.K. libel laws by filing suit there.
David Beckham’s Libel Rejection
A Los Angeles judge threw out David Beckham’s 2011, $25 million dollar libel and slander suit against In Touch magazine, after they ran a story claiming he had an affair with a former prostitute.
U.S. defamation law draws a distinction between public and private figures. When bringing a defamation action, public figures are required to prove a defendant acted with actual malice, having knowledge of the falsehood, while private figures are only required to prove negligence, a lower standard of proof. Public figures are held to a higher standard of proof in defamation cases due to the belief that the general public should be able to discuss popular and national issues without fear of litigation.
Beckham, a public figure, was unable to produce substantial evidence that In Touch published the story with actual malice, as the magazine believed the affair had actually occurred. Due to Beckham’s inability to produce such evidence, In Touch and the article was protected under freedom of speech laws in the U.S. Constitution’s.
How to Protect Your Online Reputation From Defamatory Attacks
Contemplate a situation where a jealous friend or admirer seeks to break up your relationship by spreading false information and rumors about you. Unlike the pre-Internet days, where information was slowly and inefficiently circulated by word of mouth, 2017 now offers Internet users a platform for quick and easy dissemination of truthful and false information. Instead of a slow burn and limited circulation, information now reaches an indiscriminate, global audience in a matter of seconds.
Or, consider a situation where a relationship of yours quickly went south and fell apart. Your ex is left with a bitter taste in his or her mouth, and wants to make it nearly impossible for you to have another relationship again. Maybe, they are clinging on to the hope that if you aren’t able to find anyone, you two can reconcile, so they post libelous and defamatory statements alleging you cheated and were unfaithful.
There are several steps you may take to protect your online persona and reputation:
- Use Google Alerts: Using Google Alerts can help notify you any time your name is mentioned online. Getting an early jump on when false information has been posted about you can help you talk a proactive approach to removing such content. With early notice, you can confront a poster privately, keeping a low profile and not drawing attention to it.
- Create your own content: Content creation is a great way to build your personal brand, and push your name to the top of the Google search results. This isn’t an overnight project, and can take up to 6 months before you notice any concrete results. Focus on producing quality content and promoting it, and you’ll be rewarded. Also, using a domain registry to purchase your name as a domain (usually under $10) is a proactive way to catapult your name to Google’s front page.
- Optimize your social media accounts: Establishing yourself on social media is one of the most effective ways to override maliciously posted content. The more sites you have profiles and personas for, the more search results you will rank for. Negative content will be pushed to the bottom of search results, and any attacks posted by a scorned ex will have a lessened or minimal impact on your reputation.
With just a little time and effort, you can take anticipatory steps to protect your online reputation by creating a positive brand.
Defamation Law Fact: One Chicago-area woman took to a popular cheating site to report her ex-husband, later regretting taking such action after learning of the impact on Google’s search results for her husband. 9 months, and 50 removal requests later, the information still stood.
How to Report False Information on CheatersCatcher.com
CheatersCatcher.com and other cheater exposing websites walk a thin line between legal and illegal, making it difficult to report users and false accusations. Although the sites provide a medium for users to submit information, sometimes false and libelous, sometimes not, the sites are protected by Section 230 of the Communication Decency Act.
Section 230(c)(1) of the Communication Decency Act provides, “No provider or user of an interactive computer service shall be treated as the publisher or speaker of any information provided by another information content provider,” bestowing immunity from liability on the hosts and users of such sites.
The Communication Decency Act doesn’t offer much protection for persons who are libeled and defamed, however, there are specific cases where injured parties may use alternative channels to remove unsavory posts. The Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) and the Online Copyright Infringement Liability Limitation Act (OCILLA) both do not explicitly cover defamatory posts, but may still act as a deterrent and tool to remove unsavory and stolen information which can be used as grounds for defamatory posts, including: pictures, videos, profiles, and other information that is legally yours.
Contacting a defamation removal attorney below is your best bet for crafting a strategy to remove online defamatory posts that endanger your reputation.
Work With a Defamation Removal Attorney to Remove Yourself From CheatersCatcher.com
CheatersCatcher.com’s lack of clear content policies and guidelines regarding removal means that injured parties will likely struggle when trying to remove false and defamatory content. Additionally, the lack of contact information and identifying information of users may even make it impossible to communicate a removal request to the site’s agent or owner.
When faced with such uncertainty and difficulty, it is highly recommended persons affected by cheater websites contact and work with an experienced internet defamation removal attorney. Aaron Minc, and the defamation removal attorneys of Minc Law, will provide a full accounting of your legal options, including how to remove the defamatory content, and how to hold the offending user liable for his or her statements.
Time is of the essence, and it is in your best interest to have the material removed as soon as possible. Depending on the nature of the attacks, Aaron Minc, and the attorneys of Minc Law, will also help you explore any additional legal options and recourse you may have to hold the individual poster accountable.
We are highly confident in our ability to remove content, and guarantee its removal, or we will return your fee. To schedule a free and confidential online defamation removal consultation, you can reach us at (216) 373-7706, or arrange a meeting online.