Robert M. Langer

Congress Protects Negative Online Reviews

February 7, 2017 Published Work

Social media sites such as Yelp and Facebook provide consumers with a platform to share their opinions about businesses that sell goods or services to the public.

While businesses rely on this kind of digital word-of-mouth to boost sales and positive brand awareness, unflattering online reviews are inevitable and have the potential to cause considerable damage.

But stopping customers from giving bad feedback, even if unwarranted, is difficult.

An increasingly popular approach has been to include a clause in form customer agreements that prevent the customer from making negative statements about the business.

These "anti-disparagement clauses" are not only unpopular with consumers but also have increasingly been the subject of legal challenges.

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