Online Defamation Right of Reply: Mona Novikas
My name is Mona Novikas and I fell victim to someone who unfortunately decided to take to the internet with their opinion of me after I expressed my disinterest in pursuing something more than an acquaintanceship. The day after the aforementioned conversation, this person fabricated false notions about me and defamed my character online anonymously instead of handling their emotions in a more appropriate manner. When the article first came out in 2017, as much as I did not want it to affect me, it did. I obsessed over the text, felt defeated, and started to internalize their opinions. As a pre-teen, I faced some bullying from kids at school, but the permanency of the written text I was dealing with now almost hurt more than spoken words. It took a lot of time, effort, and support from friends and family to finally remind me of my worth. I could not afford to allow my inner confidence to be destroyed by this unwarranted attempt to assassinate my character.
Years had passed and the article fell back in search results until I decided to type “Mona Novikas” into Google in 2020. To my surprise, the same defamatory article, word for word, was somehow reposted onto a mirrored website. I immediately felt like I was reliving 2017 all over again, but this time, it was right after I had been laid off due to a global pandemic and in the middle of an already difficult job hunt. How would future employers look at me after a quick online search? Does this person realize that what they did in the heat of the moment would haunt me in the years to come? The impact of the decision that they made has already found itself in a response that I received after an interview that was negatively influenced by the article they found about me. This deeply saddens me as I am not even close to the person I used to be years ago and actively strive to be a much more self-aware and empathetic human being today. As I move forward once again from this attack on my reputation, I wanted to share my story and finally defend myself online.
How to deal with false online information
It deeply saddens me that there are probably thousands, maybe even hundreds of thousands of others that have been through similar instances to mine, if not worse. Going through the same experience twice taught me valuable lessons and helped me realize I want to help others in the same position. In my case, I exhausted many avenues to have the article removed, but found that I did not have the means to be able to do so, thus I turned to other ways of trying to reverse the damage to my reputation. First, and maybe most important, is to never retaliate. From experience, it will almost always make things worse, not only for yourself but for others involved. Fighting back was certainly the first thing I wanted to do, but being able to take the time, reflect, and decide the next course of action was the smart thing to do. Next, if you are unable to hire someone to help or cannot afford other tools, build a more positive presence online by building a buffer. This way, you can try to take control of what shows up when someone looks up your name.
For more information, I highly suggest visiting this site for more help if you find yourself in a similar position.
My name is Mona Novikas. I am a victim of an online attack to my character, but I will not let that define me.