Libelous bloggers cost company $100m
Oracle News by Burleson Consulting
This CBS News
bad blogger article notes that anonymous bloggers can be very
dangerous, often costing innocent companies hundreds of millions of
dollars by publishing lies on the internet. While many states
have crimes of tortuous interference with business relationships
laws, many of the criminals have limited assets, and police are not
able to arrest geographically distributed and unknown attackers.
This attack cost a victim 100 million dollars:
"His company was preparing to launch a new
product, a no-calorie fat substitute called Z-trim, when
anonymous bloggers went on the attack.
"We started getting people that were putting up web-sites, and -
chatting on chat boards and blogs, and saying all sorts of
information that we knew to be completely false," laments
"They were saying things like, 'The product isn't good for you,'
or, you know, 'It'll give you a stomach ache.'"
Halpern says he was the victim of stockmarket manipulators who
stood to profit by driving down his stock price.
"We went on it first naively, saying, 'Let's go explain to these
people saying this stuff.' And then they - they just kept
twisting whatever we said more and more. And then we said, 'Oh,
OK. So it's a fire-with-fire mentality.' So then we fought 'em,"
After months of legal struggles, Halpern unmasked his attacker
and got the blog shut down. But it wasn't an entirely happy
ending, the company stock had plunged.
"The cost in monetary terms was probably well over $100 million
at one point, of loss to equity value," explains Halpern.
But isn't the Internet all about free speech?
"We're all for free speech. It's what allows us to go tell you
our story. And we're very excited about that. But somebody's
gonna have to, at some point, act responsibly about managing the
free speech, cuz free speech doesn't mean libel," says Halpern."
For more details on tortuous interference