Unmasked troll made to pay up
A PERSON thinking they could attack a Townsville restaurant anonymously on Facebook has settled out of court for a claim of defamation, lawyers acting for the business say.
Evan Sarinas of Sarinas Legal declined to name either the business or the person who posted the comments but said people should be aware of the harm they could cause and the risk they could be brought to account.
“Untrue and spiteful reviews were posted on various social media websites designed to bring the business into disrepute,” Mr Sarinas said.
“Our client wasn’t having a bar of it and made the gallant decision to expose the troll behind it all.
“We unmasked their identity and pursued the claim to a successful settlement and the immediate removal of the offensive posts.”
Mr Sarinas said the settlement included a monetary payment in the thousands of dollars, an apology to the business owners and the removal of the comments on several websites.
The business owner, who asked not to be identified, said he accepted that negative and positive comments would be posted on social media sites.
He said they decided to act after the commenter refused requests to discuss their concerns with them and the posts continued to be made months after the initial incident.
“It became a personal attack on us,” the owner said. “Comments were directed at my wife, her personality and physical appearance.”
He said the posts started after a misunderstanding with a food order.
He said people should try to resolve their differences rather than launch attacks on social media.
“That business you are trying to destroy could one day be the same business that gives your son or daughter a job,” the owner said.
Mr Sarinas said people making defamatory statements online seemed to believe they could do so anonymously and not be found or identified.
He said a private investigator tracked down the identity of the person responsible for the comments.