An Australian woman was ordered in court this week to pay $12,500 to her estranged husband for defaming him on Facebook. The woman, Robyn Greeuw, wrote that she “had separated from Miro Dabrowski after 18 years of suffering domestic violence and abuse. Now fighting the system to keep my children safe.”
According to the judge, Greeuw did not provide enough evidence to make this claim. “Even applying the extended definition of the words ‘domestic violence and abuse,’ as urged by Ms Greeuw, she has failed to prove any essential or substantial truth to the stings of the defamation imputations,” he said.
Dabrowski, the man who won the defamation case, works as a school teacher, and several witnesses in the trial said their perception of him changed for the worse after reading the post. Greeuw posted the allegation in December 2012 and didn’t remove it until February 2013.
It’s all too easy to make comments or accusations on Facebook that you come to regret later, particularly for new users; Greeuw had only started using the site two months before she wrote the fateful post. Social media content may feel disposable, but it can have extremely real legal and financial consequences.