As an Illinois small business owner, your reputation has a direct impact on your success. That's why online defamation can be so damaging. False statements about you or your business may easily be believed by others, which in turn will harm your bottom line. Taking the right approach to defamatory statements is key in this case, as explained by Forbes.
The first step is to understand what constitutes defamation. First and foremost, the statements made about you or your business must be false. They must also be factual, meaning that a person's opinion, no matter how insulting, is not considered defamatory. Additionally, if you plan on filing suit you'll need to show that these false, factual statements caused you actual harm. This can often be expressed in a loss of revenue or customers occurring after a defamatory statement was made.
Laws regarding defamation vary from state to state. In fact, some states have what are known as "false light" laws, which occurs when there is an implication of a false harmful statement, but no actual statement made. This might occur when a picture of a person is posted online accompanying an article about poor or illicit behavior, as it would be reasonable to infer that the picture accompanying the text was the subject of the article.
If a person makes a true but insulting statement about you, filing a claim is definitely not recommended. In essence, you're providing a defense to the person you're litigating against since the best way to disprove defamation is to establish that what was said was indeed a statement of fact. If you have questions, your best course of action is to consult with an attorney to determine whether your case has merit.