In the digital age it has become commonplace for people with a complaint or a grudge to air their grievances on the internet for all to see. They often submit reviews on Facebook, Yelp, or other rating websites (or even create a website) that may contain misrepresentations and/or lies about a business or another person. False or misleading posts online can have an adverse effect on a business and/or individuals reputation if seen by enough people which is why its important to understand the options you have in fighting back against internet misinformation. Which avenue one should take in getting defamatory information removed from the net largely depends on where the information has been posted, who posted it, and how damaging the content is.
Options that are available to you to remove content vary from circumstance to circumstance. One option is simply to ask the individual who wrote the post and/or review to take it down. Often, if a person has posted a bad review online about a specific product, all they want is a simple apology, refund, or replacement. This inexpensive and quick action could result in the individual either taking the review down or editing the review to reflect the steps taken by the business to correct the issue. If your company chooses to refund or replace the item which was the subject of the online complaint or review, it may be a good idea to have an attorney draft a settlement agreement in which the individual who posted the review or comment agrees to take down or edit the review in exchange for a refund or replacement. Reviews which are causing serious damage to a business or individuals reputation and which the individual won’t take down after being asked to may require more formal action.
In those instances, it may be appropriate to have attorney write a cease and desist letter to be accompanied by a draft of a Complaint. Another option would be to contact (or have an attorney contact) the website where the information has been posted and ask a representative of the website if they would be willing to take it down. This step can be made easier if the Terms of Service of the website state that the website does not allow false or defamatory content to be posted (some website have more strict Terms of Service than others).
If you are going to request that the website take down the comment/post, try your best to make contact with an actual person who works for the website, as opposed to sending an email, and have your reasons behind wanting the information deleted ready when you call. On Facebook and Twitter, one can simply report a damaging photo or post by clicking a link. On Facebook, the link to report a photo or comment is located above the photo/comment and is titled Report Post and on Twitter the option to report a post or photo is located directly below the post or photo.
If you or your business has been damaged by defamatory information which has been posted online, please contact the Hogan Law Firm to discuss your options.