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Is it possible to libel a website such as Craigslist or Facebook in a work of fiction? For example, if one were to write about a fictional character who had an interaction with another character, and it depicted the website in an unflattering light, would that be actionable? Or is it necessary in a work of fiction to make all names anonymous?

migrated from writers.stackexchange.com May 31 '16 at 23:45

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  • While it may be possible to be prosecuted for a defamatory statement in a work of fiction, it seems rather unlikely. – phoog Jun 2 '16 at 4:34
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Yes

Defamation is the communication of a false statement that harms the reputation of an individual person, business, product, group, government, religion, or nation.

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Defamation

  • But this is a work of fiction. The company in the work is therefore fictionalized. If the work makes a false statement about a company wouldn't one also have to show that the statement was intended to apply to the real company? Otherwise there's no harm. – phoog Jun 1 '16 at 19:54
  • @phoog libel is all about fiction - if what you say is true (non-fiction) then you have an ironclad defence – Dale M Jun 1 '16 at 21:13
  • That is true, but it doesn't address my point. – phoog Jun 2 '16 at 4:32
  • @phoog if it harms the reputation of that business - then yes. Intention doesn't matter - the plaintiff would need to show actual damage to reputation. – jimsug Jun 2 '16 at 5:01
  • @phoog I think the idea of "damage to reputation" resolved the issue for me. also see: law.stackexchange.com/questions/1557/… – Cascabel Jun 2 '16 at 16:37

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