Much in a name

Online Review>> Court Verdict • US

Published: Saturday 15 February 2014

A US court has directed the online review site, Yelp, to reveal the identities of users who post negative comments. A carpet-cleaning business owner has claimed that bad reviews about his company were not from real customers. The court said anonymous users—who could actually be fake or have never been customers—were not protected by the free speech provisions of the US constitution.

Lawyers for Yelp said they were disappointed with the ruling. Joe Hadeed, who owns Hadeed Carpet Clea ning, based in Virginia, told the court that seven anonymous users had left negative feedback about his business on Yelp. A court in Virginia ruled that Yelp had to comply as Hadeed had provided “sufficient reason” for it to think that the users might not have been customers and therefore would not be protected by laws related to freedom of speech

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