When viewing the Terms of Service or other similar policies on the third party website, you are looking for any discrepancy between the posting and the stated rules.  Many websites have policies known as a “Personal Material” policy.  Within these policies, the host site states that it will not publish certain information about an individual.  Common examples of personal information include your name, address, and personal identifying marks such as a social security number.

If you are able to find something in the defamatory posting that violates the Terms of Service or Terms and Conditions of the host site, then you must proceed to contacting the website.  Most websites will have a link titled “report abuse” or something similar.  Once you click on the appropriate link you will usually have two options:  1) email your complaint to the appropriate official or 2) mail your complaint to the appropriate official.  The best advice is to do both, and to follow up after 1-2 weeks and request to know the status of your complaint.

If the website does not have Terms of Service or if the defamatory posting did not specifically violate the website policy, or if the website refuses to take down the defamatory posting, then your next option to remove the defamatory material without a lawsuit is to remove the posting from search engine results.

To be continued…..