Courts now rely on API data to assess reputational damage in libel cases.
John Christopher Depp II is a famous American actor, producer, musician, and painter. Many people will know him for his role as Captain Jack Sparrow when he starred in Pirates of the Caribbean. He has received various accolades, including a Golden Globe, Screen Actors Guild Award, three Academy Awards, and two BAFTA nominations.
Depp sued his ex-wife Amber Heard over an op-ed she wrote in The Washington Post in 2018, in which she described herself as a prominent figure who advocates for victims of domestic violence. Depp is seeking $50 million, claiming that even though Heard did not identify him, the piece harmed his reputation and career. She referred to a two-year period where she sought a divorce and a restraining order.; Depp has rejected all allegations of violence. After Depp’s lawyer declared her charges were baseless in three news comments, Heard countersued for $100 million.
During recent developments in the case, both parties have called on the services of social media experts to access the reputational damage caused by hashtags on social media.
Online experts Using APIs to give evidence.
The case caused a lot of chatter on social media, and the hashtags used to target Heard included #AmberHeardIsAnAbuser, #AmberTurd, #JusticeForJohnnyDepp, and #WeJustDontLikeYouAmber.
This case perhaps even sets a historic legal precedent of using information served from APIs such as the Twitter API as valid evidence that can be quoted by experts.
According to Ron Schnell, a social media forensic expert, negative tweets were not the cause of Heard’s reputational damage. While Heard’s legal team claimed an increase in negative hashtags associated with their client’s name.
From public perception, probably the most considerable reputational damage to the parties, one could argue, is the news coverage of the case itself.
Could this be the beginning of using Newsfeed APIs for Defamation Cases?
Now, social media analysts can use social media APIs to give evidence of reputational damage. Is it now possible for news analysts to provide quantitative data on how the news has damaged the parties’ names in the Depp v Heard case?
Using a news API can give you a picture of the extent of the colossal reputational damage that press coverage of the case has caused to Depp and Heard.
Using mediastack, which has access to 7,500 news sources worldwide, it is straightforward to see just how much reputational damage these actors have done to themselves by taking their battle public.
Using mediastack, which gives access to both live and historical data, it was possible using a few simple Python scripts to ascertain the number of unique authors and publications who wrote articles about ‘Depp’ between March 2019, when Depp sued Heard, and today’s date.
You can also get articles and images from every online publication that has covered the case.
These stories and images will be the online digital footprint of Depp and Heard forevermore. A trial that caught them at their worst rather than their acting achievements.
Use of news APIs for future defamation cases
This is perhaps the course that Depp’s legal team should have taken in assessing the damage of Heard’s op-ed in The Washington Post in 2018.
It is possible in the future to envisage that experts will be using APIs such as the mediastack API to quantity the reputational damage caused by published news articles. Using mediastack, a legal team could start to prove a litany of other similar copycat articles over several thousand other publications.