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Situation: Someone has been calling me a slut on twitter with a fake profile and harassing me. I am based in LA and I have no idea where the fake profile is from.

  1. Can I take any legal action against him/her (not just blocking or deleting account)?
  2. Is there way to trace his IP address without getting it from Twitter legally?

I saw online that I can potentially file defamation suit against him. However, I am not sure whether name-calling would be considered to obtain a law suit.

  • Welcome to Law.SE! Note this site is not regarded as a forum (i.e. its not for extended discussion) but a Q&A website. – A. K. May 13 at 1:34
  • You refer to a "twitter message" a few times in comments here and on related questions - are you referring to a public tweet, or a private message? – user4210 May 13 at 3:37
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Under California law (Cal. Civ. §46),

Slander is a false and unprivileged publication, orally uttered, and also communications by radio or any mechanical or other means which...4. Imputes to him impotence or a want of chastity

You could hire an attorney to file a defamation lawsuit against the party. As part of the process, your attorney would file a motion to compel Twitter to supply information (such as IP address) which might maybe lead to the actual person. This article discusses the likely steps, but since Twitter is also in California, the first step is easier. Using an IP lookup tool, you could get the company that provided the connection, and then maybe the person, if it was not a Starbucks. Another court order may be required to compel e.g. Comcast to supply the individual's information.

Calling you a slut falls under the rubric of defamation per se, where it is assumed, by law, that you were damaged, so you don't have to prove that you were actually damaged.

  • Thanks man, I have a suspicion that the user is in Australia. I don't want to loose thousands of dollars and get nothing! – Neha Jayswal May 12 at 22:50
  • Also, it written on twitter message.. so what are my chances to prove it defamed me?! – Neha Jayswal May 12 at 22:51
  • @NehaJayswal Based on my reading of the link, the first 4 types of defamation are defamation per se (since the last is "caused actual damage"), so you wouldn't need to prove actual damage to have a case. With that said, going after Twitter with a subpoena is probably not the right move, if you contact Twitter first they may be able to take action against the owner of the IP without having to disclose it to you. It takes a lot of money to go after someone in another country even if you already know who they are. – IllusiveBrian May 12 at 22:53
  • Thank you so much again. What action do you think twitter will take against the abuser? (suspending his/her account as a punishment is not fair at all) – Neha Jayswal May 13 at 0:41
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    "I don't want to loose thousands of dollars and get nothing!" - unless you are a public personality with a public image that can be disparaged, or the other party is a public personality who is using their public image to disparage you, you basically aren't going to get much of anything because you aren't really damaged by someone calling you names on a public forum. Unless this is a sustained campaign against you, and thus falls under the remit of criminal harassment, don't expect anything like substantial damages in any potential win. – user4210 May 13 at 3:44

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