This book examines the work of the public relations, technology, and legal professionals who provide online “reputation management” services, situating their work within contemporary debates about regulating speech on the internet.
The author argues that legal solutions like the European “Right to Be Forgotten” are not really possible in the United States, but that the private solutions of reputation management help to ameliorate novel concerns about reputation. At the same time, he contends that these practices prompt different free speech and dignitary concerns unique to the digital environment. Drawing upon rhetorical and legal analysis of diverse texts, including reputation management promotional materials, interviews with practitioners, legal cases, and popular online commentary about reputational disputes themselves, the book intervenes in specific debates about the regulation of the internet, as well as broader socio-legal debates about the role of reputation-damaging speech in a democratic society.
This timely and relevant study will have great relevance for all students and scholars of communication studies, public relations, rhetoric, new and digital media, internet law, technology and society, computer-mediated communication, and sociology.
Table of Contents
Introduction; 1. Balancing Speech and Reputation Protection: Conceptual Foundations; 2. Reputational Precarity in the Digital Age; 3. Remedies: Legal Reform; 4. Remedies: Reputation Management Practices; Conclusion
Ben Medeiros is Assistant Professor of Communication Studies at SUNY Plattsburgh, USA.