Will this change how people review restaurants? Uh, probably not — but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t still be a little cautious when posting to Yelp.
A new court decision has ruled that Yelp must out seven anonymous Yelp reviewers in Virginia, after a carpet cleaning company subpoenaed the company to find out who wrote seven really, really bad reviews. Their case? That the reviewers hadn’t even used the carpet cleaning service. As the Atlantic explains it:
The seven reviewers were never customers at all, Hadeed Carpet Cleaning claims. If that is indeed the case, then the reviews are false. And if they’ve additionally caused harm, then the reviews are defamatory. (Though the decision does not explicitly say so, the implication is that false reviews on Yelp may be the pseudonymous, strategic communications of a competing firm.)
Ahhh. So anonymous speech is a tricky situation, it seems. But if you’re out to defame a restaurant just because, well, maybe don’t do that.
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