Freedom of Speech, How Free Is It? Bad Reviews by Tracy Lynn Stanley
Story Time Justin Kurtz – student at West Michigan University His car was towed even though he had a permit – forced to pay $118 to get his car back Created a Facebook page called “Kalamazoo Residents against T&J Towing” Within 2 days, 800 people joined the group Was sued by T&J Towing for $750,000 for hurting their business Referred to as SLAPP lawsuits
SLAPP SLAPP – Strategic Lawsuits Against Public Participation Used to intimidate critics Not used necessarily to succeed, but rather to force defendants to back down, rather than face long and expensive court battles Used against those who testify at a city council meeting or write angry letters to their representative – and now in modern times – against those like Justin Many states have an anti-SLAPP law
Justin’s Story Continued Justin’s Facebook page now has more than 12,000 members Currently he is countersuing the towing company with claims of abusing the legal process Justin commented saying “There’s no reason I should have to shut up because some guy doesn’t want his dirty laundry out. It’s the power of the internet, man.” Do you agree with Justin?
Reflection Should we be able to say whatever we want, wherever we want? Post rationally, not emotionally Always post knowing it is going to represent you professionally, and yes, companies do Google you when hiring Keep in mind that the internet is global and that nothing is ever truly deleted Are SLAPP laws justified? Many states are against them, along with congress considering legislation to create a federal law banning these actions
How To Respond to Negative Reviews Online Rule 1: Stay professional and pull the focus back from the details to focus on a solution. Rule 2: No personal attacks. Write to future prospects, not the reviewer. Rule 3: Show that you are human, not a nameless, faceless company. Rule 4: Know what’s being said!
Questions For The Class… Should companies be able to go after bloggers for giving them bad reviews? If so, what regulations do you think should be in place? (i.e. only if it isn’t accurate, only for a reasonable price, etc.) Should review sites ask the blogger specific questions, such as what was your mood before entering, and again when leaving. If so, what questions?
Work Cited Social Media Marketing by Tracy L. Huten and Michael R. Solomon, published by Pearson, page #172 “Confessions of a Yelp Addict (or How Business Owners Should Respond to Reviews” by John Stevens http://www.customerlink.com/how-business-owners-should- respond-to-reviews-online/ “How to Avoid Bad Reviews” by Lollipop Local http://lollipoplocal.co.uk/how-to-avoid-bad-reviews