A recent incident that saw a Facebook troll sued for more than a cool million is a good reminder for those who use the internet to sow discord.
Aparently, it’s a crime to tarnish anybody’s image on Facebook; including your neighbour. It might just turn into a costly affair for you or even land you in jail.
A Centurion businessman Paul Hechter reportedly sued a neighbour for R1.3 million in damages at the High Court in Pretoria. The neighbour allegedly dragged his name through the mud following his complaint about her chickens and the 50 to 60 rabbits she kept in a “dirty and smelly cage” next to his wall.
The neighbour, Michelle Benade alegedly posted his picture on Facebook, describing him as her; “perverse neighbour”.
In addition, he got a lot of hate mail‚ labelling him a peeping tom; “sick bliksem”; a pervert and paedophile. Subsequently, some “concerned Centurion citizens” joined the charade to threaten him.
“I was called a sick bliksem, a sick monster who should be kept away from children, a f*****g paedo, and even a disgusting piece of s**t.”
When the threats became overwhelming, Hechter had to move to ensure his safety. However, to his “utter shock and amazement” Benadealongside her family also moved right next door to him again.
In February, Hechter obtained an order against her demanding that she retract the statements she had made about him on Facebook. She obeyed and apologised as well, promising not to indulge in such again.
However, he is now claiming R1.3 million in damages‚ with reasons that his reputation was tarnished.
Judge Mmonoa Teffo postponed the matter indefinitely as Hechter was required to file a further affidavit.
Maybe this could reduce the rate at which people’s images are tarnished online in the name of facebook troll.