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Blog Post

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The use of social media to leave reviews creates a medium in which “word of mouth” can reach many more individuals who are in search of a specific product or service that can meet their needs. The accessibility of these forums reaching vast numbers of consumers lead to both positive and negative effects. For consumers, the ability to read about others’ good, bad, and neutral experiences can help them determine if the particular business is a right fit for them. For business owners, both positive and negative reviews can indicate to a business what consumers appreciate and also what the business should be doing in order to improve its interactions with consumers.

However, one of the main problems with online reviews occurs when consumers share false negative reviews of a business. Recently, California Courts have been presented with legal issues arising from the use of online forums, specifically, whether courts have the power to force any specific forum to take down a defamatory review. Furthermore, courts must address whether any infringement on a consumer’s First Amendment right to free speech arises if a negative review is declared defamatory.