Is It Illegal To Post Negative Reviews?
from the questions,-questions dept
The owners of an apartment complex are apparently trying to sue some anonymous reviewers who wrote negative things about the complex on an apartment reviewing website. The apartment owners go on and on about how they need to remove these "unlawful" remarks, where it's not at all clear how they're unlawful, other than the fact that they're "negative." The only explanation for why they might be unlawful are that they damaging the business. There's nothing illegal about that if the comments are true, but the apartment owners seem to think that the comments are actually from owners of competing apartment complexes, which makes the whole story a bit more confusing. How can anonymity be protected, while making sure that the comments are actually from people who legitimately lived at the apartment complex itself? Still, there's something odd about the insistence that any negative comment simply must be false and, therefore, illegal. Update: It appears this is a hot, hot topic today, as USA Today is running a different story about companies suing over negative websites. Meanwhile, the Financial Times is running an article about why companies need to pay attention to what bloggers are saying about them, that includes a couple quotes from me (based, in part, on some of the work we've done with clients advising them how to respond to negative things being said online), suggesting that companies respond honestly, rather than with lawyers, since the legal response tends to make things much, much worse.