If a member of a Facebook group that I am an administrator for posts something, in this instance an accusation of criminal wrongdoing, that is then reported by another user as being a lie, or otherwise false and therefore potentially libellous, do I have a legal responsibility to take any action without evidence being supplied to me in favour or against the post?

Naturally if one person says somebody did something, and another says no this is a lie they didn't, one of those people cannot be telling the truth. In a police investigation there would need to be evidence supporting the original accusation, without which the case would be thrown out, but to put an accusation in writing without evidence could be seen as libel, and becomes a different issue.

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    Though this is not legal advice, unless you have a strong reason to leave the post up, it would make sense to remove it. Since you are the group administrator, you can set up guidelines and remove it based on those guidelines whether or not the content is indeed libellous.
    – user
    Mar 3, 2020 at 17:49
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    In what jurisdiction? In the UK, the longer you leave offending content online, the greater your risk.
    – Lag
    Mar 3, 2020 at 18:08
  • @Lag yes this is in the UK Mar 4, 2020 at 19:59

2 Answers 2


Employers may be vicariously liable for the defamatory statements of employees when made in the scope of their employment, see Sade Garnett v. Remedi Seniorcare of Virginia, LLC which concludes that an employer is not liable outside of that relationship. Your description of the scenario is consistent with that possibility, but isn't strongly suggested, so I will assume that this is e.g. a generic interest group. In the US, you would not be liable. In South Africa, broader vicarious liability is reported to be possible so you could be liable.


In terms of UK law, as administrator for the group you have assumed some responsibility for the material that appears.

If you act quickly you have less legal risk than if you act slowly or do not act. If the material is defamatory, the less time it's available online the less liability or damages.

There is less or no risk in erring on the side of caution and immediately removing the material complained about. Conversely, the longer you leave the offending material online, the greater your risk.

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