Can websites allow reviewers to post full names of employees on their bad reviews without any consequences?

Our company is a tour company and we encountered an issue with one of the venues we took our group of over 100 people to and they became violent and endangered the safety of our staff while we tried to reconcile the situation and began badmouthing the company infront of the venue as a scam, which is entirely not true. Now one of the reviewers has posted a review on yelp stating our full names, which the staff working is concerned about their safety. If confronting the website and they refuse to edit or remove the review is there any legal action we can take against the website?

Asked on March 13, 2015 under Business Law, Florida


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

1) A website is not, under the law, generally responsible for posts of authors/contributors/reviewers who are not their employees, agentys, etc.--that is, websites like Yelp have been given legal immunity for liability due to what their posters post, which in turn means that you can't compel them to take it down. (Congress did this to encourage a free and open internet.)

2) Persons' names are public information, which any person may post or otherwise publicize/publish freely, unless that person signed some agreement to not disclose names.

3) If the review is making a material (important) misrepresenation (lie) about any staff, those staff members may be able to sue the reviewer personally (not the website) for defamation.

4) If the reviewer is posting threats about the staff or trying to incite harm agains them, that may be a crime and should be reported to the police.

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