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Have You Had Embarrassing Information Posted on Social Media by Others?

Wisconsin Law Provides Relief

I have been reading with interest recent articles that discuss situations where an individual suffered humiliation and embarrassment due to some private information posted on facebook or twitter. These situations almost always involve photos that were meant to remain private, but have now been published to the world. Oftentimes these photos are published by ex-spouses during a divorce or ex-boyfriends or girlfriends who are upset about a break up. On other occasions, such information is posted for the purpose of bullying. These postings can and do result in great harm to the victim. There is even a new term for at least one form of these disclosures: “Revenge Porn”.

If you are the victim of such conduct, there is the potential for legal action to be taken against the offender under Wisconsin law. Let me discuss briefly the statute in question.

Wisconsin Statute 995.50 is entitled “Right of Privacy”. This statute states as follows:

  1. The right of privacy is recognized in this state. One whose privacy is unreasonably invaded is entitled to the following relief:
    1. Equitable relief to prevent and restrain such invasion, excluding prior restraint against constitutionally protected communication privately and through the public media;
    2. Compensatory damages based either on plaintiff’s loss or defendant’s unjust enrichment;
    3. A reasonable amount for attorney’s fees.
  2. In this section, “invasion of privacy” means any of the following:
    1. Intrusion upon the privacy of another of a nature highly offensive to a reasonable person, in a place that a reasonable person would consider private or in a manner which is actionable for trespass.
    2. Publicity given to a matter concerning the private life of another, of a kind highly offensive to a reasonable person, if the defendant has acted either unreasonably or recklessly as to whether there was a legitimate public interest in the matter involved, or with actual

knowledge that none existed. It is not an invasion of privacy to communicate any information available to the public as a matter of public record.

I believe this statute can be utilized by those who have had private information disclosed on social media to prevent future disclosures and to seek monetary compensation from the person who published the information. In addition, the statute calls for the perpetrator of the disclosure to pay the victim’s attorney fees if successful.

If you have had personal and private information posted on social media by others for the purpose of humiliating you, please contact Attorney Steve Caya to discuss your legal rights.