Social Media was once a way to connect with friends, but has quickly turned into a way for businesses to advertise and seek out new customers. Unfortunately, businesses are finding out that social media is not always the friendliest. The ongoing Yelp case brings about some interesting questions about social media, and how far comments can go. Businesses are closing because of social media, and without regulation, it could be dangerous.
Yelp case could set precedent
The Yelp case that is up for a decision is regarding a business that has a string of bad reviews. The owner of the carpet cleaning business wants to go after the Yelpers that have caused his business to lose a substantial amount of revenue since the postings. Based on his sales, he says some of the posts are fraudulent and wants Yelp to turn over the negative Yelpers information. He also believes the bad comments are coming from competitors. Since Yelp doesn’t require any proof of an incident, anyone can put a bad review on a business without even doing business there. Although free speech is being thrown around as a way of protecting the information, it seems only fair for a business to know who the negative review is coming from.
Yelp has also been accused of bullying businesses who don’t sign on to advertise with them. The New Jersey business claims that after rejecting Yelp’s advertisement plea, negative reviews began to appear on their business’ Yelp page. Yelp denies any involvement, but without information being made public, businesses can’t know for certain if it is comment manipulation.
Google Maps has had similar problems
Another business in Chicago recently put up a sign in their window because Google Maps had them listed as closed, which really hurt sales, especially the international ones. The owner claimed someone that wanted them out of business had multiple people report to Google Maps that the business was closed. After so many of those reports, the business was listed as closed on Google. The owner didn’t realize what had happened at first, but after a dramatic loss in business, the owner decided to do some research which led her to the closed Google listing.
For these reasons, social media regulation is an issue that needs to be addressed. It’s one thing to have a legitimate complaint, but for competitors or enemies to have the power to affect a business’s livelihood, it would seem oversight would be the next step. For now, Yelp and Google remain untouched with these complaints, so the upcoming Yelp case decision could be huge!
What do you think? Should social media have more regulation?