Lies, damned lies and new media: is online gossip out of control? Concern is growing about defamation on Twitter and the internet

It’s not just celebrities who have their reputations trashed online.There are victims like Emily Moore, a schoolgirl from the country who signed up to a social media site because she just wanted to talk to her friends; and there are powerful figures such as Louis Bacon, the reclusive billionaire who finds himself hounded into the public gaze by anonymous and vitriolic bloggers.But it has, perhaps predictably, taken the digital demolition of two famous and glamorous women to bring to the fore the issue of internet defamation, where the good names of individuals can be impugned from – apparently – a place beyond the reach of the libel courts. First Gabby Logan, the television sports presenter, and then Jemima Khan, the writer and campaigner, found their reputations stained with the lava of spite and anger that has erupted online in response to the use of super-injunction gagging orders by the rich and powerful. Neither Ms Logan nor Ms Khan had taken out such an injunction, but both were victims of false claims which implied they were having affairs with married men.

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