In the commercial setting, reviews and ratings on social media can be extremely important for business success. Implicit in a review or rating is that the reviewer actually interacted with the business. Making matters worse, reviews can frequently appear in search engine results.
Has your business been the subject of negative social media “reviews” containing information you believe to be entirely false?
Possibly by persons that you do not believe to be actual or former clients or customers? From persons with extremely limited social media history? Describing events that are inconsistent with your business practices and that you do not remember?
While the internet is relatively new, and social media is newer, the common law has long provided remedies for defamation, i.e. intentionally false statements made without privilege.
While (perhaps) little can be done to remedy the opinions of persons familiar with your business, the law does provide remedies for malicious or opportunistic falsehoods maliciously directed at the core functions of your business or profession.
While the law may be well established, the particular context is relatively new, and platform providers are currently protected by federal law from liability for the statements of others. Furthermore, platform providers are generally interested in protecting anonymity.
Counsel can help you navigate the policies of the various internet platforms in a way that seeks to remove offending information without litigation, thereby minimizing expense. Furthermore, first interacting with the platform provider may increase your chances of obtaining information through litigation.
Litigation should be viewed as a last result, but may be necessary to prevent repeated falsehoods that substantially impact your commercial prospects.