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Court Rules Yelp Can't be Ordered to Remove Negative Reviews

     
3:39 pm on Jul 4, 2018 (gmt 0)

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Yelp cannot be forced to remove negative reviews, according to a California court ruling, and the reviews can only be removed if the company decides to do so.

This is a significant ruling in terms of free speech, and of liability, and means that companies such as yelp cannot be held liable for a users' reviews on its system.
In a 4-to-3 opinion, the court said that federal law protected internet companies from liability for statements written by others.
Forcing a site to remove user-generated posts “can impose substantial burdens” on the online company, Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye wrote in the majority opinion. “Even if it would be mechanically simple to implement such an order, compliance still could interfere with and undermine the viability of an online platform.”


[nytimes.com...]
1:27 pm on July 11, 2018 (gmt 0)

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@Sally Stitts
Use your brain to separate the BS from the real.


This touches on a key problem also - most people do NOT do this, most people take reviews as gospel and believe everything they read. There are lots of people that don't of course or don't think they do but they are a minority.
2:55 pm on July 11, 2018 (gmt 0)

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re legislation..
Who is going to make "the laws"?
In which country ?*
Do you seriously think that those who make "the laws" give a rats ass about anyone other than themselves and the mega corps and sites that bribe / lobby them to make the laws that suit them.

As long as the major sites are based in the USA , laws to protect small businesses websites against larger mega businesses websites, is not going to happen.
3:24 pm on July 11, 2018 (gmt 0)

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@leosghost
Whilst im not saying it is going to happen, certainly in the near future ....

Who is going to make "the laws"? - as it stands you have entities like the EU that recently for example implemented the GDPR that can apply legally to business outside of the EU although it is yet to be seen how effective that would be. But if the EU and the US together put legislation that would cover a large part. Didnt say it was easy, but that is WHO.

"Do you seriously think that those who make "the laws" give a rats ass about anyone other than themselves and the mega corps and sites that bribe / lobby them to make the laws that suit them." no i dont. Like I said , I didnt say it was going to happen or at least anytime time soon but at some point something will have to change - what that change will be I dont know, but I was putting forward ideas.
8:19 pm on July 11, 2018 (gmt 0)

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The USA government / legislature / executive has no interest in any legislation that protects consumers and or small business, whatever interest it may have had has been gutted recently..So..it is certainly not going to join in with any EU initiatives in those directions, individual US states may do so, but individual states do not / cannot make agreements trading , legal or otherwise with the EU or any other trading block or country..

There will be no "White Knights" arriving to the rescue, in relation to this and many other subjects, put not your faith , nor hopes in idols with feet of clay, no matter what they may promise.. a famous French man once said ( translated ) "promises are binding only upon those who hear them"..

Beware of Maya..
8:59 pm on July 11, 2018 (gmt 0)

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@milchan I don't see much of that actually happen. If some of what you said comes to pass large businesses have deep pockets and I can just see the more unethical ones strong arming anyone with the law who places a bad review whether it is true or not.

While we are implementing laws we should also have one that requires online businesses to write clear and easy to read terms of service :-)
9:07 pm on July 11, 2018 (gmt 0)

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clear and easy to read terms of service
“It must take less time to read and comprehend the entire EULA than the time you expend to spend using the product on an average day”?
9:31 pm on July 11, 2018 (gmt 0)

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“It must take less time to read and comprehend the entire EULA than the time you expend to spend using the product on an average day”?

facebook already thought of that one..
time spent by average user on facebook per day..4 to 6 hours.
time required by average facebook user to read facebook TOS..2 to 3 hours*

( it is over 40 pages , but is readable in under 20 minutes..but.. these are average facebook users that we are talking about here, most of whom will not normally read that many words of prose in a month )

Instagram has even fewer words in relation to the pictures than facebook does, hence it's rise..pinterest is almost entirely pictures, which is why it's growth ( year on year ) is even higher than that of facebook and Instagram..pinterest is currently oscillating between being the 3rd and the 5th most visited social media site on the web..right up there with Weibo etc..

Idiocracy is just around the corner, and accelerating towards us..
10:20 pm on July 11, 2018 (gmt 0)

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I'll try this one more time.

What happens if we end up with conflicting laws or regulations regarding reviews and or privacy issues.

One might say you must take something down, and the other might say you don't have to, or even that you can not legally delete the info.

So may issues and questions, so few answers.

Given who makes the rules and laws, this seems like a likely outcome.
10:32 pm on July 11, 2018 (gmt 0)

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What happens if we end up with conflicting laws or regulations regarding...
You could say that about anything on the WWW.
10:57 pm on July 11, 2018 (gmt 0)

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The answers are already here, and are simple..we already have conflicting laws..just take for example the laws in Saudi Arabia or Iran or India related to what can be published on the web by citizens or residents of those countries ( either on sites within those countries or outside them, or on 3rd party social media sites such as Instagram* )..another example, one can buy and sell Nazi items on the web in many countries, but not in Germany and most EU countries..Libel and slander laws are not the same from country to country, this affects websites..You as a US citizen can say what you like about politicians and rulers of other countries on your own , or other websites, but if you visit certain of those countries, you may get arrested for what you said whilst in the USA..Likewise I could say whatever I wished about a US politician, but, I could expect problems at entry to the US as a result of them ( I was once asked at entry to USA "which British political party I would vote for", my entry was dependent upon my answer pleasing the guy at the desk ) ..Many laws conflict already, many will continue to do so, there may be some alignment of some, and divergence of others..we will live with that, we already do..

re conflicting laws about taking down info or deleting it..and or conflicting laws on privacy..Most people decide what to do based upon who is able to sanction them..take GDPR..if you are never going to come to the EU, and you block EU traffic, you will be highly unlikely to face any problems from the EU..If You run adsense however, Google may give you grief ( but only if they think that they have to make show of "doing something" to the EU ..or they might cut adsense from all but those earning over a certain level anyway, they have already done so, they can do so again** ) ..The laws one obeys are usually those of where one lives, and those of where one visits or is likely to visit...and one's own moral laws.

*Case of Iranian girl arrested and sanctioned for dancing on Instagram..
** I think that Google are highly likely to do so again, it makes economic and legal sense for them..they have already made moves to recuperate the potential lost earnings via the hikes in prices for "maps", and other increased charges.
10:59 pm on July 11, 2018 (gmt 0)

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What happens if we end up with conflicting laws or regulations
I haven’t read any stories of declining enrollment in law schools recently.
11:01 pm on July 11, 2018 (gmt 0)

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Apologies for quoting myself, but wanted to clear up any possible misunderstanding
just take for example the laws in Saudi Arabia or Iran or India related to what can be published on the web by citizens or residents of those countries ( either on sites within those countries or outside them, or on 3rd party social media sites such as Instagram*

There are many other countries whose laws , mores and customs conflict with many others..and the legal , and cultural sands are constantly shifting, but then they always have been..and always will..
1:15 am on July 12, 2018 (gmt 0)

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just to clarify my intention of my original post on the laws etc a bit ....
I was putting forward ideas, thoughts etc and it is not what I think WILL happen in the coming year or so. It was more about pointing out my point of view of what I think are some of the current issues, and I know there are many that think along similar lines. I agree that just because many think it is unfair that doesnt mean those in power care or will take action BUT I think the nature of the internet, technology and society means that something WILL happen at some point. I can see currently that a number of things are getting out of hand, out of control and if left to to continue as it is could be the cause of incredible damage to our world.
Its just my opinion of course but when we have a situation were by the elections of governments and referendums are clearly being influenced by people who want to influence the outcome by using things like social media and other means on the internet , that huge sectors of commerce are being monopolised by corporations (granted this happened before the internet) by controlling the internet and countless other problems due to the abuse and misuse of what is/was useful tool - at some point , something will hit tipping point. People, or governments or both will want something to change. The internet is fast on its way to becoming a lot less useful due to the abuse from marketeers, people with political agendas, #*$!ters, manipulators etc etc etc - the noise is already beginning to outweigh the useful.
What will be the change? I dont know,. Maybe decentralized internet can help, Maybe restrictions and laws of some kind. Maybe nothing and , as is our nature, we have ruined something that is good for error.
My instinct is that something will be created, evolve etc that will change the game completely once again and probably within the next 10 years.
1:30 am on July 12, 2018 (gmt 0)

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@Milchan ... Do know that when replies come and some seem negative, there's nothing mean-spirited (or very rarely!) in that. Some of these folks log in as a guilty pleasure while on the job and often don't have the time to properly phrase a reply, so don't take it personal.

Will there be changes to the web? Coming soon in the next few seconds ... always around the corner. Will it be GOVERNMENT level? That moves a lot slower, and in some cases appears to be a very far distant dream.

Bear in mind, this was not a "win" for Yelp ... it was a "loss" for the plaintiff. Yelp is not out of the woods, is still subject to defamation litigation in various jurisdictions, and if the GDPR becomes universal, those anonymous reviews might not be so anonymous any longer. Each of the puzzle pieces "fits" with the rest, somewhere down the line, and usually with unintended results.

Wait and see what happens. That's what we all have to do.
9:11 am on July 15, 2018 (gmt 0)

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What if the review is fake from competitor? Is there will be any legal action?
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