ESTACADA, Ore. (KOIN 6) — A local man says he has lost everything because of his online reputation that was tarnished by charges that were never filed against him.
Joshua Black told KOIN 6 News that he lost his job, his girlfriend and was even forced to leave Oregon because employer searches keep pulling up his mug shot.
A simple Google search of Black brings up multiple stories from a night in March that led to a stabbing investigation in Estacada.
“When somebody Googles my name, they’ll find this information but only with partial evidence not really the detailed story that happened on March 2,” said Black during an interview via FaceTime.
The numerous online stories all stemmed from a law enforcement press release about Black’s connection to the stabbing that left one man in critical condition and Black behind bars.
However, Sandy police said they later learned from an investigation and nearby surveillance footage that Black acted in self-defense.
“I had been attacked from behind and pinned down to the ground and that there were multiple people around me and that it was at night and I was alone and that I had tried to walk away from this group,” said Black.
The 32-year-old said he was forced to fight back when five men wearing ski masks attacked him as he left a grocery store.
Despite charges never being filed, Black says the existence of his mug shot on the Internet has cost him prospective jobs.
“It’s difficult to promote yourself in a positive light when you have multiple documented pieces of information on the Internet that paints you in a certain way,” said Black.
He has even contacted web masters to take the information down.
Christian Bayley with Anvil Media said as a generalization, it is true that once something is posted online, only the publisher can remove it.
However, Bayley said a strategy to counteract a post can help combat a negative story or picture.
“You can have a strategy to counteract, but it’s really about developing positive content and positive attributes,” said Bayley.
Bayley explained that by publishing positive content on sites such as Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and Wikipedia can literally push negative content down in searches over time.
“I can see how this experience is going to keep coming up. It’s going to keep bubbling up and resurfacing for maybe the next two or three years,” said Bayley.