Defamatory Online Reviews

Internet defamation

Online Reviews And Defamation

Online reviews may be considered defamatory if one or more parts of a review is factually inaccurate or is misleading, provided this makes material difference to the perception which is given to the readers of the review.
By providing the readership with significantly partial information, the author of an online review might end up leaving the readers with the wrong impression of the subject of the review. Some disgruntled customers may only provide the readers with a one sided story about their experience and by doing so they could be committing an act of defamation.

Information that is given in part may be as libellous as outright defamation 

Information that is given in part may be as libellous as outright defamation which means that the organisation which is the subject of the review might have a right to sue for damages as well as request the removal of the review from the internet. Proving defamation in such cases could however be proved challenging.

Before taking legal action to facilitate the removal of an apparent defamatory review from the internet it is always best to try and find ways to approach the author of the review with a view of persuading them to voluntarily remove the review or at least amend it to create a fairer perception. You might want to communicate to the author of the internet review that the review as it appears is libellous and that its continued publication could result in financial losses to your company, which you might be entitled to recover from the author of the review.

Sometimes this option might not be available or might have already been unsuccessfully exhausted. Yet, before taking legal action it is certainly worth having an appropriately written solicitor letter sent to the author.  This letter does not necessarily need to be aggressive or inflammatory. The solicitor letter can often open the door for a much needed reconciliation which is almost always a better way to solve the problem than litigation.

Author: Yair Cohen
Social media lawyer