Legal Updates

Removing a person from a “WhatsApp” group by itself does not constitute defamation

August 20, 2023

A member of a sports club's WhatsApp group was removed from the group and contended that the automatic message received on WhatsApp "removed from the group" harms his good name and constitutes a defamatory publication.

The Court dismissed the claim and held that the act of removing a member from a WhatsApp group, by itself, does not constitute defamatory publication. In order to establish defamation, it is necessary to point an active act of publication that may, inter alia, humiliate a person in the eyes of others or demean the person due to acts, behavior or traits attributed to him or which may damage its business or profession. In this case, the manager of the WhatsApp group removed the member from the group after inappropriate behavior and due to the apprehension of harming the social dynamic of the group. The removal action did not include any publication of offensive expression, either in a written or oral message, neither any other expression that intended to damage the person's good name, with the exception of a technical and automatic notification by the WhatsApp system about the very removal. Under these circumstances, removing the member from the WhatsApp group does not constitute defamatory publication and the claim was dismissed.