TLP: Come On, Now, This Is No Way To Slap Someone
Anonymous online comments and Twitter snark have been pissing off elected officials lately. Looks like companies in the private sector aren't immune to what's said about them on the internets either.
Web sites like Facebook, Twitter and Yelp have given individuals a global platform on which to air their grievances with companies. But legal experts say the soaring popularity of such sites has also given rise to more cases ... in which a business sues an individual for posting critical comments online. ...Is this a smart move by companies? Ask the litigious whiners who don't like their Yelp reviews. Fuck, ask any company that complains about its reviews. Selling a product or a service sort of carries with it the chance that someone won't be happy with what they got. And if you want to reap the benefits of the Internet, sucking it up and accepting the downside is a cost of doing business.
Some First Amendment lawyers ... consider the lawsuit an example of the latest incarnation of a decades-old legal maneuver known as a strategic lawsuit against public participation, or Slapp.
The label has traditionally referred to meritless defamation suits filed by businesses or government officials against citizens who speak out against them. The plaintiffs are not necessarily expecting to succeed — most do not — but rather to intimidate critics who are inclined to back down when faced with the prospect of a long, expensive court battle.