Every situation is different so by far the best way to find out how to respond to a social media legal issue is to speak to those who are most likely to have dealt with a situation similar to yours.
To find out how you can improve your reputation on the internet simply select one of the easy methods of contacting us.
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Right to be forgotten. Does Google delist search results from Google searches worldwide or only from European Google searches?
The purpose of this article is to update our clients on the latest position in relation to successful Right to be Forgotten applications and the current position regarding the removal of search results from Google worldwide.
Following the Google Spain decision in 2014, Google started to remove offending links under a Right to be Forgotten from the Google searches but only from the applicant’s own country. So a successful Right to be Forgotten application made by a UK citizen would have resulted only in the removal of links to offending pages from Google.co.uk. This was highly unsatisfactory so law firms, including Cohen Davis Solicitors, had made repeated complaints to the Information Commissioner's Office until early in 2015 Google undertook to have offending search results under a Right to be Forgotten removed from all European searches.
Google, we must note, had not fully kept its promise to remove searches from across Europe which means often it has to be nagged at and threatened with legal action before it removes links to offending pages from European search results. By European we mean countries that are members of the European Economic Area and which include Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Republic of Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden and the UK.
This situation was still unsatisfactory because users in these countries who searched Google.com were still able to view the links to the offending webpages on Google.com search engine. This again, resulted in complaints from Cohen Davis Solicitors and from other law firms across the EEA.
A breakthrough was made in June 2015 after the super active Commission nationale de l'informatique et des libertés (CNIL), which is the French equivalent of our Information Commissioner's Office, issued Google with a formal enforcement notice, telling Google that it had to include all Google search engine extensions in the delisting process following each successful Right to be Forgotten application. Google appealed but its appeal was rejected so in September 2015 CNIL issued Google with another formal Notice that had the power of an injunction.
It ordered Google to delist, across the board, 21 search results in relation to a French citizen who made a successful Right to be Forgotten application. The Notice stated that the protection under the Right to be Forgotten must apply to all European residents with no possible circumvention. Circumvention means, that Google users can get around the filters Google applies and still see offending search results by using all sorts of technical methods.
Google ignored the Notice and refused to delist the offending search results globally. It wrote to the French data protection regulator saying that the Notice it was issued with was unlawful and that global delisting of search results under the European Right to be Forgotten would represent disproportionate attack on freedom of expression and information. Google representations were rejected. Still, Google refused to apply the Right to be Forgotten globally. Instead, it started to delist offending search results based on IP addresses rather than Google search engine extensions.
So, if you search from a device with a European IP address, offending search results will be hidden from you from all Google search extensions but if your device has an IP address which is outside the EEA, then the offending search results will still show. In short, Google changed the way delisting works by moving away from search extension search results delivery (Google.com or Google.co.uk) to an IP address based delivery. This means that you can search any Google search extension you may, if your device delivers an IP address from the EEA, the offending search results will be hidden.
This presented an issue in relation to individuals who live close to a border between an EEA and a none EEA country who might get mixed results based on the IP address their device uses to carry out the Google search. The French data protection regulator noted this was an improvement in Google’s method of delisting offending search results yet it said that IP address geolocation criterion, which varies the protection given to a European resident according to the geographical location of the individual using the search engine, is, on principle, unsatisfactory insofar as, the delisted information remains accessible to all internet users outside the territory affected by the new filter measure, which can in any event be circumvented by any affected users.
It went as far as to stated that only a measure that applies to all processing by the search engine, with no distinction between the extensions used and the geographical location of the internet user making a search, is legally adequate to meet the requirement under the Right to be Forgotten. In light of the repeated violations by Google, the French data protection regulator issued Google with a penalty of 100,000 Euros. Google appealed to France’s highest court, the Council of State (Conseil d’État). A decision in the case is expected by the end of 2017.
Google’s current position is that it will not delist search results from all its search engine extensions as a matter of course. The French data protection regulator’s position is that it must do so. So we are all waiting for the outcome of the appeal.
Cohen Davis’ position is that any data, which is found to be unlawfully processed anywhere in the EEA and which is resulting in delisting of search results under the Right to be Forgotten, must not then be processed outside of the EEA.
This is because under European data protection laws, any organisation that transfers personal data to a country outside of the EEA, must do so under the same conditions of processing which applies to processing of the same data within the EEA.
So, if processing of personal data is unlawful within the EEA, it is must also be unlawful outside of the EEA. Under European data protection law, the emphasis is on the data subject (the individual subject the data which is being processed) so the location of the person who carries out the internet search is irrelevant. This, we note has not been an argument in the French case but we expect European transfer of data regulations to form part of Google's obligations in delisting search results from Google worldwide.
Follow us on Twitter and we will let you know as soon as the court reaches a decision.
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Often, individuals who perform in adult films, do so whilst highly vulnerable and at a low point in their lives. Some performers are humiliated and even gang raped on set and from that day onwards they are condemned to re-live their sexual assault on a daily basis, through online porn sharing websites. Rape through porn happens when an individual participates in a pornographic film in circumstances, which give rise to the validity of the consent they gave.
Occasionally, they are not cable of consenting because they are under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
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Proven strategies to help you remove from the internet adult videos you had made earlier in your life
If say, 10 or 15 years ago, for whatever reason, you agreed to make a sex video in return for money, and that video has in the meantime been published on the internet, you might be able to have the video and any related video clips deleted from each and every website that hosts it.
At the time, when you agreed to participate in making the sex video, you might have thought of it as being a matter of little long term importance. Most actors who performed in adult films ten years ago or longer hardly anticipated that their erotic films would be cut into dozens of short clips and published and republished endless times by complete strangers who had nothing to do with creating the films. It is likely that before the production of a pornographic film you agreed to assign all your intellectual property rights to a production company who you thought would keep matters under control. The assignment of your rights to the porn video might not be valid.
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How to remove nude images and videos from the internet.
Often, models and performers who previously appeared on nude or pornographic videos wish to put their past behind them and move on with their lives.
Many wish to study a profession or start a family. Young adult film performers may have signed copyright assignment agreements with model agencies or with adult film produces which on the face of it give away all their legal rights in relation to the pornographic videos or nude images they now wish to remove from the internet.
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If you already made an application to Google under the right to be forgotten and your application was declined, you have a right to appeal to the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO), the regulator responsible for data protection in the United Kingdom, which has the power to overturn Google’s decisions.
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Our client was employed as a manager by a company in the financial services industry. An article in a national newspaper (also published online) revealed some of the practices employed by that company and effectively had made our client a scapegoat to the company’s alleged wrongdoing.
When news broke out about the company’s alleged practices, it allowed our client to become a scapegoat and did nothing to try and defend its practices or our client’s position as an employee
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Meet Gary. Gary was a small investor in listed public companies who held shares in a gold mining company RRR PLC. As an active investor, Gary used to be involved in online investment forums such as Interactive Investors.
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Online harassment can occur even if the information published is true
This is another ground-breaking internet law case by Cohen Davis solicitors. Lawyer Yair Cohen instructed by a former senior employee at the United Nations to put an end to harassment on the internet by another UN employee.
Protection from Harassment interim injunction obtained by Cohen Davis in favour of former senior UN employee RADA-ORTIZ and ESPINOSA VADILLO  EWHC 2175 (QB).
Meet Jesus Espinosa Vadillo, a former United Nations' (“UN”) temporary employee. In 2014 JEV, who worked as an interpreter at the UN's International Maritime Organisation (“IMO”), felt aggrieved about the way he believed he was being treated by his department manager.
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"When harassment occurs on social media we will obtain an injunction, anonymise our client and allow her to continue with uninterrupted use of her social media account."
This can be particularly beneficial if you are a celebrity or if you depend on the social media account for work.
Protection from Harassment injunction obtained by Cohen Davis in favour of our client in the case of DDF v YYZ (unreported, 5 June 2015).
In the case of DDF v YYZ, Cohen Davis obtained an injunction against an unknown Instagram user who harassed and cyberbully our client via the social media website Instagram. Our client, who we anonymised in the court order, was working in the entertainment industry and was relying on Instagram for his work as well as for personal communications.
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When was the last time you searched online for information about your own company? If the answer to this question is “never” then you are not alone. But you also need to read on…
Many organisations spend little or no time in researching themselves on the internet. This makes sense on the face of it; what could you possibly learn that you don’t already know? But it is precisely this subconscious dismissal of the notion that you could find something out that you don’t already know that enables negative ‘information’ from going undetected for so long and causing so much damage.
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Review websites are either Industry Specific or Multi Area. They create an image of a service for the public good whilst in fact, they are commercial enterprises, they are not altruistic. Their commodity is YOUR reputation, and it's free of charge. Review websites often claim to have a right to publish without responsibility for content. This claim is false; in many cases operators of review websites are also the publishers and often the editors of the posts and are therefore liable to you for defamation.
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Questions about defamatory online reviews
Many people genuinely believe and even insist that review websites are there to enhance consumer’s ability to make the right choice or to educate them in choosing; a reputable supplier, a builder, an estate agent or even a holiday provider - and they are dead wrong. The truth is that the vast majority of those who operate review websites have clever systems that are aimed at benefitting them financially by encouraging visitors to their website to write negative reviews. This is often achieved by attacking and consequently destroying the reputation of good, honest and well established businesses across the UK.
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Cohen Davis has won in the case of Phipps v Britton an apology and substantial damages from Paul Britton and his company Origin Design Ltd after they defamed, harassed and cyberbullied our client in a series of websites the created about him. The apology took the form of a statement in open court read before His Honour Judge Moloney QC on Wednesday 20 May 2015.
Discovering the identity of internet commentators who post abusive and defamatory content online and who use an anonymous identity to defame you or your business, is often a hugely challenging, if at times impossible task and one that continues to be a global problem for victims of such internet abuse. The police in any jurisdiction will typically be very limited in being able to assist in circumstances of anonymous internet abuse and from our experience we have seen that such complaints usually go unanswered.
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Adverse results from search engines can often have severe consequences, sometimes affecting you as an individual, sometimes affecting your family and at other times affecting your business. This will seem particularly unfair where the information presented by the search engine against your name or the name of your business is untrue, deceptive or very old.
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On 12 October 2014, Google reported to have rejected more than two thirds of all the ‘right to be forgotten’ applications they received from UK applicants.
Google’s decision to comply with any such applications is of course at their discretion (albeit in accordance with the landmark court ruling made in Google Spain SL & Google Inc v Agencia Española de Protección de Datos (AEPD) & Costeja González (“Google Spain”) in May 2014) and there are currently no hard and fast rules which might serve to predict an applicant’s chances of success. Indeed, when comparing some successful applications against those which Google rejected, it becomes quite apparent that (at least on the face of it) even Google does not appear to maintain a consistent approach in how it deals with each right to be forgotten request.
A right to be forgotten. Yair Cohen, UK expert lawyer in removing web pages from the internet speaks at Google Campus, London.
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The ruling came after Mario Costeja Gonzalez, a Spanish man, complained that a search of his name in Google brought up newspaper articles from 16 years ago about a sale of property to recover money he owed.
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Every organisation needs to carry out reputation risk analysis on a regular basis.
But at times of online reputation crisis, risk analysis is even more crucial than ever and needs to sit at the heart of the reputation recovery strategy. A reputation recovery strategy that encapsulates continuing reputation risk analysis will typically follow these steps:
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False reviews and other defamatory statements that appear on the internet often leave the targeted business suffocating for cash and investment. Our well polished processes to removing defamatory web pages and forum posts from the internet often gives our clients the kiss of life that saves the business from bankruptcy.
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Defamation by investors - defamation against a company
In a case that is believed to be the first of its kind in the UK concerning online defamation by investors against a company, online defamation and social media specialist solicitor firm Cohen Davis won damages for its PLC client, a gold mining company Red Rock Resources (RRR) after the company was defamed on social media by one of its small yet vocal investors.
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Writing a fake online review has never been easier. A fast growing industry of online review websites leaves very little hope to those business owners who want to play it fair.
The number of fake online reviews is constantly growing. A significant number of fake online reviews are written by business owners who often act in despair after becoming victims of fake online reviews.
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It is estimated by researchers that between 16 to 20 per cent of social media reviews are fake. We believe however that the real number is much higher.
We believe that between 50 to 65 per cent of all online reviews are fake.
A research by Harvard Business School entitled “Fake It Till You Make It: Reputation, Competition, and Yelp Review Fraud 24 September 2013” points to an emerging industry of fake review creation, which is primarily being driven by business owners who either leave positive reviews for themselves, negative reviews for their competitors or a combination of both.
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Company directors often prefer to remove damaging webpages from public sight by using a discrete method to push the derogatory webpages down in the search results of Google.
This method often results in satisfactory resolution of many of the issues that negative webpages may bring on a company generally and on its sales team in particular.
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It is possible to ease the pain caused by online defamation through principles of tactical transparency. There are numerous examples of organisations that for a period of time suffered sustained attacks on their reputation but nevertheless managed to come out at the end of the dark tunnel cleaner, stronger and loved by their customers.
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Chilling Effects is a website that collects and publishes cease and desist letters that it receives from individuals and from organisations such as Google.
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How effective should a defamation cease and desist letter be when your aim is to have online defamation removed from a web page, a blog or a forum?
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How to respond to defamation on a review website.
Whether you are the victim of corporate defamation or of individual defamation, before responding to a bad review or to online defamation read this!
Don't rush it.
If you are considering writing a response to the defamatory article or to the negative review, then don't rush it.
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Looking for an experienced online defamation lawyer?
We achieve a high rate of success in the removal of online defamation!
In the past few years we have removed hundreds of defamatory websites from public view. Web sites, which up until then devastated our clients’ reputation. This includes a vast number of defamatory videos from YouTube as well as articles from national news websites.
We removed content from Google Inc, YouTube, Firefox, Bing, TripAdvisor, MoneySavingExpert and other well known internet websites around the globe and successfully negotiated the removal of web pages in the UK, the USA, Canada and other countries.
If you are searching for a defamation lawyer who is also an internet law legal expert, be assured that you have arrived at the right place.
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Can I write a letter to ask for the web page that contains defamation to be removed from the internet?
Online Reputation travels fast and because so many members of the public wrongly believe that they can hide behind a made up name in an online forum to post comments without being accountable for the consequences of their comments, you can see how your business reputation could be completely tarnished almost overnight.
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Your employees are the people who are most likely to take a confrontational approach on the internet against your company.
Disgruntled employees are responsible for much of the defamatory and unauthorised dissemination of information about a company and its practices.
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Like a hurricane sweeping through, savagely devastating innocent lives, online reputation crises tend to visit organisations with little warning as to their actual strength, their impact, or their destructive intentions. A story that does not go away within days or weeks is likely to stay on and increase in traffic over time.
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Online reputation attacks can be significantly more powerful when videos are used to attack someone’s reputation. Google, which owns YouTube, appears to be pushing hard to include video posts in its search results. If there is an available video match to a specific search term, it is likely that this video will score highly in the search terms and make its way to the top page of the search results.
Google aims to offer those who use its search engine a variety of information types, including regular web pages, blogs, social networks, videos, and images.
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What is a Google bomb?
The phrase Google bomb is used to describe various practices and techniques aimed to "marry" two or more unrelated words of phrases in order to bring about a particular search result.
An example would be when a phrase such as “Teacher Paedophile in South London” is artificially linked to the name of an innocent individual.
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Can I obtain an injunction against Google?
The first UK Google injunction was obtained in 2011 by Yair Cohen. The order required Google to reveal personal details of individuals who were defaming a UK business on the internet.
The claimant, who was seeking the injunction against Google was a news publishing group, Wyvern Media, which at the time was servicing tens of thousands of customers each year. Despite Wyvern's genuine attempt to satisfy them all, a small number of customers remained disgruntled.
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In this article we will briefly discuss the law of defamation in England.
The main aim of defamation law in England is to provide an opportunity for individuals and companies to assert their good reputation against attack.
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Defamation by an ex-employee. What can I do about it?
It is not uncommon for disgruntled former employees to go on a campaign of defamation against their former employer’s company.
The defamation normally occurs through blogs, emails and by initiation of discussion groups in forums aimed at throwing as much dirt as possible at the former employee's company.
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In our younger days, some of us did things we later came to regret. We wronged people or made them upset. Guilty as charged. We can't turn back the wheels of time, however and usually we mature and move on to better and greater things.
But what if, out of the blue, an indiscretion from 10, 20, or 30 years ago suddenly resurfaces, wreaking havoc on our family life, our business, our achievements, our good name? It resurfaces because someone causes it to, in order to destroy everything we have worked for.
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How SEO is used to spread defamation
Everyone has a soft spot. Being called a certain bad name in public could cause you a lot of damage and harm your career.
For example, a doctor might be described as "negligent", a solicitor as "incompetent", a builder as a "cowboy", or a teacher as "stupid". Such labels would be regarded by any of these people as a personal attack on their reputation and integrity.
But perhaps the most harmful insult of all was suffered by a top civil servant who was a social worker for the Children’s Service at a district council in the north of the country.
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Internet law includes any legal issue related to the internet.
It might be private, commercial, technical, criminal, or some other branch of law. The important thing to remember is that the solicitor who handles it must have special knowledge of both the "deep web" and the back-end technology of the internet in order to meet their client's goals.
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Many business owners ask, What is the difference between "marketing" and "online reputation management"?
The common use of these two terms is rather confusing. In reality they refer to totally different things.
"Marketing" is commonly defined as the act of creating, communicating, delivering, and exchanging offerings that have value for customers.
"Reputation management" on the other hand is defined as the building, maintenance, and recovery of the organisation’s desirable image.
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Internet Defamation Dictionary
Definition Of Adwords Advertising
Adwords is the name of a Google advertising programme where someone in effect pays rent to Google to secure a prominent position in the search results for their website or blog. Payment to Google is made only when someone clicks on the advert.
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What is Internet Law?
Here are some of the most commonly used terms in the context of internet defamation. You will find this special terminology repeated elsewhere on our website. Understanding this special language will help you understand the problems that you are facing and their causes as well as their solutions.
Adwords Advertising is Google's advertising programme, where someone pays rent to Google to secure a prominent position in the search results for their website or blog. The payment to Google is made only when someone clicks on the advert.
In the context of internet defamation, a defamer might carry out an Adwords advertising campaign for the exclusive purpose of sending visitors to a defamatory webpage.
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You've been dragged through the mud on the internet. Your reputation is being assaulted with vicious lies, and you don't even know who's telling them.
The situation is urgent, but what should you do? You do a little research but find conflicting advice: Hire an SEO expert! Hire a PR consultant! Talk to someone experienced in e-commerce sales! Get yourself a lawyer.
The truth is, removing defamation from the internet involves no single magic solution.
After many years of costly trial and error, here's what I discovered: Only one trick will secure you the best opportunity to remove defamation from the internet from public view, and this trick is called EXPERIENCE. Believe me when I tell you this. I am a lawyer!
Get your strategy wrong and you will be doomed for a very very long time.
With online defamation, just when you think that things cannot possibly get worse - they suddenly do.
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Have you experienced a reduction in sales lately? Maybe it’s due to the current economic climate, or maybe it’s because your marketing strategy has not been updated to reflect the global economic changes of the past few years. Maybe it’s a combination of those factors.
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I have been defamed on the internet. What can I do about this?
The ability to list web pages on the top page of the search results for a long period of time is normally a function of either excellent workmanship or an unintended random consequence of Google algorithm. Names of individuals and companies are easy targets for the purpose of internet defamation or even just to cause someone reputational, emotional or financial damage.
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Victims of online harassment, intimidation, and defamation often feel hopeless and powerless to act. In many instances they feel scared and paralysed.
If you have been a victim of an online reputation attack and have tried to report your attackers to the police, you were probably shocked and disappointed to learn that your local police force either was not interested, didn’t understand the problem, or is underfunded and unable to invest time and resources in investigating your case.
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Have you recently suffered defamation by competitors?
Online defamation by competitors is not unheard of. Below is one classic example of defamation by competitors of a small family business.
Jeff Clark, a husband and a father of three children ages 3, 6, and 10, has always loved cars. He has been fixing them since he was 12, and has worked in local garages around the Manchester area for many years.
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This is business sabotage in the digital age. It is far more common than you might imagine and new enterprises are particularly vulnerable as they are at their weakest. The culprits will normally be more established operators in their sector/field who are seeking to ‘smother them in the cradle’ or perhaps stifle their growth when they begin to feel the effects of the competition on their own business.
It might also be from established entities who are retaliating to what the incorrectly perceive to be similar behaviour on the part of others. Restaurants are especially vulnerable to fake reviews. A recent study from Harvard University entitled, "fake it 'till you make it" shows that independent restaurants are much more likely to post fake reviews about their competitors than any other sector. Equally, they are quite fond of making up good ones about themselves.
National or Chain restaurants are far less likely to engage in such practices. It is estimated that 16% of all restaurant reviews are fraudulent, and that is after many have been filtered out (Yelp have sophisticated algorithms to achieve this - many sites do not). If you own a new business, especially a restaurant, be on your guard!
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How to Prevent Becoming a Victim of Defamation by Former Employees and Partners?
How to describe that first shocking moment when you discover that the reputation of your business is being tarnished all over the internet? There’s really nothing else like it, and it is followed by sleepless nights and constant worry. For some business people whose reputation is attacked online, things will never be the same again.
Just imagine: As you lie awake wishing the problem would go away, instead, it is spreading throughout the internet. Within weeks, sometimes even days, there is more defamatory material every time you look.
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Is it possible to remove defamatory web pages from Google?
Interesting data was recently released by Google concerning the removal of offending web content from the products it owns.
The data is focused on government requests to Google to remove content. It is not clear if the information that Google has published includes court orders in civil matters, where the court, in effect, acts as a government agency.
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Injunction harassment. The case of Jesus Espinosa Vadillo
Online harassment can occur even if the information published is true This is another ground-breaking internet law case by... Read More...