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Is this considered defamation or defamation per se?

Cleveland, OH |

Copying someone's picture that was found online, giving the person in the pic a false name & sharing it with someone on a dating site.. no false statements made nor any real information shared. No money made. But only giving a false name to someone's picture & sharing it with a third party.. according to law is this a false statement of fact or does this imply any direct negative meaning here that might amount to defamation per se?

Attorney Answers 3

  1. This action does not become actionable unless it results in damages. Consult an attorney with all the facts to advise you.

    Call for a free consultation at 727-937-1400 or visit us on the Web at

  2. A lawsuit would be fruitless. Best bet is to have the person take it down, and put it behind you.

  3. Catfishing is not defamation, absent an injury. It is, however, a fraudulent misrepresentation and almost certainly a violation of the site's terms of service. Online impersonation is a crime - sometimes a felony and sometimes a misdemeanor - in several states, as well. So, you may want to speak to a criminal attorney about what sort of liability you face based on your actions. It's also definitely becoming something states are making an effort to police.

    So, take it as you will. It's a bad idea, and it isn't really funny. It could also open you up to criminal prosecution.

    No information you obtain from this answer is legal advice, nor is it intended to be. You should consult an attorney for individualized advice regarding your situation. No attorney-client relationship is formed by my responding to your question.

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