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Facebook post cost woman $500,000

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By Bob D’Angelo, Cox Media Group National Content Desk

Social media can be a wonderful way to catch up with friends and colleagues, but posters who vent should be careful what they write.

It could be costly.

A woman from Asheville, North Carolina, will have to pay $500,000 in damages for a false post she wrote on Facebook.

A lawsuit, filed in North Carolina Superior Court, claims that in a Nov. 15, 2015, Facebook post relating to someone she knew, Jacquelyn Hammond wrote, “I didn’t get drunk and kill my kid.”

Davyne Dial, the woman Hammond was referring to, had lost her son decades ago in a gun accident involving another young boy but had nothing to do with his death. So, Dial sued, WKYC reported.

“I don’t think we as a society realized how impactful a social media post could be,” said Nesha Pai, who runs a Facebook page for a Charlotte networking group.

Truth is a defense in a libel case, but since Hammond’s post was not true, the case settled in Dial’s favor. Hammond had to actual damages of $250,000 and punitive damages of $250,000, according to court documents.

“I think people today don’t recognize the importance of their words,” Charlotte attorney Missy Owen told WKYC, “Just because it is very easy to get your words out there does not mean you should.

“You can get in trouble anytime you make a false statement about someone else that damages their character or reputation,” Owen said.

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