Legal Updates

A review on Facebook which intends to harm a business constitutes defamation

April 20, 2022

A couple who purchased, together with their daughter, a plot of land marketed by a realtor published on the realtor’s Facebook page a number of posts that included, among other things, allegations and defamatory statements of "fraud" by the realtor and its broker and warned the public to refrain from any business contact with them.

The Court held that the publications deviated from expressing a legitimate criticism and is defamation. Israeli law sets a list of "permitted publications" which publication does not constitute defamation, such as when the published statemnet was true and the publication was in the public interest and made in good faith. Here, there was no consumer-service provided relationship between the parties and the publication was done only to harm the realtors and their good name due to another dispute due to the couple’s daughter being requested to pay brokerage fees and legal costs as part of a legal proceeding against her. As the goal was ultimately to harm the realtors business, this is not an action in good faith or an act of expressing a legitimate consumer review. However, as the publications were deleted within minutes to hours compensation will be in a reduced amount.