Think twice before leaving your next Google review
Written by Gabriella Ferraro
The future of Google reviews may be changed forever after an Australian court has ordered Google to identify an anonymous user who gave a negative review to a Melbourne dental surgeon.
Dr. Matthew Kabbabe, a teeth-whitening specialist in Melbourne, says a reviewer’s comment posted about three months ago urged others to “stay away” from his practice, which damaged his business.
The dental surgeon has sought the order so he could pursue legal action against the user for defamation.
In Australia, large corporations can't sue users for bad reviews, but non-profits and small businesses with less than 10 employees can.
Under the order, Google will be required to pass to Dr Kabbabe any personal details such as any names, phone numbers, location metadata and IP addresses linked to the account.
Mr Kabbabe's lawyer described the ruling as a "groundbreaking" win for small businesses, and argued Google had a duty of care in providing a platform for potentially defamatory postings.
"If you're out there trying to hide by anonymity, even via VPN, I think the court system's catching up now and there are ways and means of obtaining that information," Mark Stanarevic told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation.
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