Internet Defamation: Case Study On The Reappearance Of Characters From The Past

 
In our younger days, we have all done things which we ended up regretting. We have wronged people, we caused them upset. Guilty as charged. But no one can turn back the wheels of time and usually life goes on and people move on do to better and greater things.

But what if suddenly, almost out of the blue 10, 20, 30 years on, an image from the past decides to make a reappearance in our lives with the sole purpose of destroying everything that we have worked for; our family life, our business, our achievements, our good name and our reputation? You see, before the days of the internet, unless we had left behind a forgotten son or daughter we have been, relatively easily, able to put the past behind us.

It would have been almost inconceivable for someone, especially from another country to make a comeback into our lives and systematically start destroying us. Now things appear to have changed, quite dramatically with shadows from the past being able to haunt us almost to the grave through the use of the latest technology, with a click of a button.

FRANK BACKERFIELD (not his real name), a successful English entrepreneur who is very famous in the entertainment industry, has recently discovered that an image from the past has made a nasty reappearance with the sole purpose of completely destroying him.

You see, when Frank was a bit younger, he used to be, let’s say, something of a playboy. He used to travel around the world, telling lots of rich women that he loved them when actually he just wanted to spend some good time with them or spend their money. Apparently he left a number of broken hearts crying their eyes out inside fancy rooms in expensive hotels, expecting them to foot the bills and forget about him almost as quickly as they fell in love with him.

At the time, neither of the parties involved believed that they would ever meet each other again and to be frank, most of the women that he engaged with, did not have any desire to even hear his name again, let alone to reunite. After a number of years of messing around, Frank decided he had enough and that time had arrived for him to go ‘straight’.

With the little bit of money that he had he opened a small night club that he managed to run so successfully, that within a couple of years it was earning him a fortune. He then moved to open 4 more clubs in and around London until he became an established and a very respected figure within the UK entertainment industry. Frank even got married to a lady from Middlesex, Clair, and they both lived in harmony with their 4 children in a lovely country home in a small village in Essex.

But then, one day, Frank received a phone call from a trusted friend, asking him if he happened to know a lady by the name of Laura Park, from Canada.
The name did ring a bell but no matter how hard Frank tried to remember where he had heard of this name before, he was unable to recollect specific details. The trusted friend then advised Frank to do an internet search of his name. It had been ages since Frank used the internet. Normally his wife, Clair, or one of his assistants would deal with the internet stuff for him because Frank was a very busy man who hated wasting time going online.

So Frank did a search on Google and to his astonishment he discovered that a Laura Park had written several blogs and even published a book (available on Amazon) on ‘How My Life Was Changed Following My Short Encounter With The Fraudster Frank Backerfield’.

In her blogs, and in the book that she had self-published, Laura Park had described her encounter with Frank some 25 years ago and how he allegedly deceived her to sleep with him and then to leave her ex-husband and her two children, just to be dumped by him within a fortnight. In her internet publications Laura Park described Frank as a living monster; a person who must not be trusted, a fraud and a conman. She declared very openly of her intentions to destroy himand she made a 'personal commitment' to turn everything Frank had ever created into ashes. Unbeknownst to Frank, Laura Park’s campaign had gone on for a number of years.

She posted personal videos on YouTube, MSN and other websites. She created tens of blogs and websites and told her ‘story’ in every possible forum on the internet. But it was not until Google had changed its algorithm that her blogs started to appear everywhere on the internet against the search of Frank Backerfield’s name.

Initially Frank decided to ignore this campaign and to continue with his focus on his business instead. But as the inquisitive telephone calls from friends, family and business associates started to increase and as the pressure from his wife, Clair started to grow, he decided that he needed to do something about this matter. His business started to suffer and he could not stand the thought of him being labelled as fraudster, in front of the whole world. HE HAD NO CHOICE BUT TO FIGHT BACK.

Well, fixing this mess was not going to be very easy. This woman clearly set herself on a mission and it appeared as if she was now devoting her whole life to destroying Frank no matter what. She was living outside the jurisdiction of the English Courts and was posting all her claims through websites which were located outside the UK. To add to this, the quantity of the defamatory material was so great which means that a major clear up operation was required and this was going to be a very challenging task.

The best way to deal with this sort menace is to take a very systematic approach by starting off the cleaning operation from scratch. As there was very little point in trying to persuade Laura Park to stop her campaign, an injunction was obtained against the internet service providers who hosted the material which she had posted. Once an injunction was been obtained, the next step was to start enforcing it across the globe with the help of local process servers and lawyers.

This way, one by one the posts were removed and the hundreds of internet links which pointed to these posts gradually became inactive and eventually were removed by the search engines’ Spiders.

At the same time, a strategy of the search engines made sure that the vacuum which was left by the disabled links was being filled with plenty of articles, blogs and information about Frank Backerfield.

During the entire time of the clear up operation, the internet was monitored by My Reputation Alarm which is an internet monitoring system to ensure that any new postings by Laura Park about Frank or about his company were being dealt with at once, whenever possible using the injunction which was already in place.

Frank’s reputation was eventually restored and the risk to his business was removed. But inevitably he is still a very nervous man and will probably remain this way to the rest of his life.

Pinder Reaux & Associates