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Yelp User Sued for Negative Review, Google Sued for Negative Blog Comments

Should You Be Able to Say Anything Negative on the Internet?

It's quite the litigious news day for the Internet, what with the news that a Yelp user is being sued for his negative review of a doctor, and a model is suing Google because of anonymous nasty comments about her which were posted on a Blogger-hosted blog.

Disregarding the validity of each case, they both present interesting cases for how we should and shouldn't use the Internet; as for Yelp, you're supposed to be able to post negative reviews (reviews tending to be one way or the other); will each negative claim be investigated? Could I be sued for not being able to prove that I found a hair in my burrito?

As for the nasty comments on a blog, I'm pretty sure this model will be told one way or another that a thicker skin is in order. Or will she? What are her rights (or anyone that's bullied) in comparison to the freedom of speech of the anonymous poster?

What do you think? Should you be able to say anything negative on the Internet? What are the limits?


Join The Conversation
otay otay 8 years
negative...well of course I think you should be able to express opinions, but I don't think you should say anything negative directly aimed toward a person, that kind of stuff shouldn't be allowed.
Kadiya Kadiya 8 years
Funny I should find my way here after reading a long article about Yelp. After reading the comments already posted, these are my thoughts: Yes, suing over a bad review when it is an honest bad review is silly, but when that review is false and malicious, then I have no problem suing over it. Keep in mind that reputations are unmade very day by cyberbullies and others who just want to go out and hurt people and can because they have a medium at their disposal that is virtually global and retains "information" in perpetuity and they can do it anonymously. I agree with magickalrealis, treat the internet like real life: if you wouldn't say it to their face, don't say it online. I actually tend to give positive reviews when I am online, promoting what I like rather than bashing what I don't. Jyramiah, Yelp is a review site. People who go there, use the information there to help make decisions. We do that all the time with information find on the web. Information online can and should be taken seriously. So, when someone uses the site maliciously and posts bad reviews that lie because they are unhappy about something else, that is a serious issue and one Yelp should be looking at carefully. For example, I read a story that someone posted a bad review of a place (citing sanitary conditions) because they were mad that the place was closed for a private function. Um... I have a real problem with that on a review site. When I was in college, I took a polisci class. The professor had this really great analogy about freedom. We each have the freedom to swing our arm and fist all we want, but when that fist connects with someone else's nose, we have just infringed on their freedom. I like to remember that analogy in cases like this. But then again, I still like the Golden Rule. :)
Jyramiah Jyramiah 8 years
I think suing someone for a bad like suing little Billy for saying little Jenny is a bad at tying shoes. Just plain ridiculous. Anyone who take sthe internet seriously really needs to grow up.
a1stbornunicorn a1stbornunicorn 8 years
freedom of speech, yo.
Jude-C Jude-C 8 years
I think that overall, freedom of speech on the Internet is a great thing and should be preserved, but individual websites should also be able to continue to determine their own standards and moderate as they see fit, the way Sugar does.
jennjennnbubba jennjennnbubba 8 years
I think you should be able to say what you please be it positive or negative. Though, I tend to only comment on products and movie reviews, if I was unhappy with service or in this a DR, I would want to be able to express my opinion about it. However, I do agree that tact should be present in your comments. You can clearly express a negative comment or review without profanity and trash talk.
magickalrealism magickalrealism 8 years
It's simple: treat the Internet as thought is IS real life. The same consequences apply in daily free speech should also apply online.
candace87 candace87 8 years
Oh, and to whoever this model is, he or she clearly wants the attention from this case? They can't seriously think that just because someone doesn't think they're attractive that they can sue? and sue GOOGLE? Uh.. that doesn't even make sense.
Angelica Angelica 8 years
Well put angeldoesit! I couldn't have said it better myself :)
candace87 candace87 8 years
There is a fine line here between slander and opinion. If you are harassing someone via the internet, that is definitely wrong. If you are fabricating a story and spreading rumors, that is also wrong. But if you did not like the service you were given by a doctor, or if you don't like that model's look or style, you are allowed to express your opinion. Freedom of speech is a touchy subject but honestly, if I went anywhere wether it be to a doctors or to a restuarant, and I want to write a review, I can do that. It's my right. Just the same as if I received excellent service and wrote a positive review.
sparklestar sparklestar 8 years
In principle, they should be able to say anything they want. A small time blog is HARDLY going to be a problem for this model. Wtf?
aimeeb aimeeb 8 years
I think on one hand you should be able to but it should be monitored as not to be offensive or vulgar...
EvilDorkGirl EvilDorkGirl 8 years
That's funny, I thought the point of the internet was to anonymously bash people with little to no consequence... ;-) Seriously, though, the model suing over the blog is like Britney suing TMZ for showing that pic of her flashing her cocha all over town. If you don't want people talking about you looking like crap in public, dress up when you go out. As far as the doc reviews go... why didn't the doctor just post his own Yelp review saying, "I'm sorry you were disappointed with my service, this is not how I treat my patients. I'm happy to openly discuss my payment plans with any current or future patients." I personally really appreciate the doc reviews, since I'm new to Chicago and don't really have a lot of female friends to ask about things like a good gyno.
yellowshoe yellowshoe 8 years
How about JuicyCampus and DontDateHimGirl? Those really are geared toward negative comments...
starangel82 starangel82 8 years
I think there is a difference between a negative review about a product, movie, show, etc and bashing someone or something. While I'm not so much for bashing people/things, it happens. Especially on the internet. But policing it is going to be a horse of a different color. I also think you should be able to defend anything you type though.
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