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Fallout from Capitol Siege Leading to Internet Defamation Issues

Posted by David Katz | Jan 19, 2021 | 0 Comments

In the days after the attack on the U.S. Capitol Building in Washington, D.C. on January 6, rioters have been facing lots of repercussions – both in the form of criminal charges and from private individuals who are doing what they can to punish the perpetrators in the assault.

Unfortunately, lots of the amateur internet sleuths who are exacting retribution are less than precise when they take action. When innocent parties and businesses get caught in the crosshairs, it can be devastating to their revenue and reputation, and can amount to internet defamation.

Innocent Businesses Getting Accused of Participating in Capitol Riots

The assault on the U.S. Capitol Building was one of the most thoroughly documented crimes in history. Most of the images and footage was recorded by the rioters, themselves.

As the evidence trickles into the public eye, other people have scoured through it to identify the perpetrators. In many cases, the people in the riot openly identified themselves with a business – whether their own, or their employer's. Some were wearing company sweatshirts, while others wore work badges or talked about their business in videos.

The retribution has been swift: Lots of rioters have lost their jobs, and their businesses have suffered.

However, not all of the retribution has hit the right people. One rioter from Texas owns a flower shop called Becky's Flowers. Her flower shop has seen its Yelp rating decimated by one-star reviews written by people over her role in the riot. But other shops called Becky's Flowers – in California, Kentucky, and even in Scotland – have also gotten hit, as well.

Several have gone to significant lengths to distance themselves from the store in Texas, but are still getting inundated with negative reviews.

Removing Negative Reviews is Time-Consuming But Critical

For these innocent businesses that have been caught up in the fury against a Capitol rioter, the negative reviews pose a serious risk to their livelihood. Lots of potential customers rely heavily on online reviews when they make a purchasing decision, so keeping a good rating is essential.

In cases like these, business owners tend to have great success by simply reaching out to the reviewer and telling them that they have the wrong store. However, when the deluge of negative reviews is so thick, even this simple interaction can be incredibly time-consuming. There are also bound to be reviews that linger even after the person who posted it has been told of their error.

Defamation is a statement of verifiable fact that harms your reputation and can be proven wrong. Reviews like these often amount to internet defamation because the reviewer has never actually been to the store. They also tend to violate the terms and conditions of the site that hosts the review.

Getting the reviews removed, though, can take legal representation.

Internet Defamation Lawyers at the Katz Law Group

The internet defamation lawyers at the Katz Law Group can help business owners protect their reputations online from fake or defamatory online reviews, as well as defamatory social media posts. Contact them online or call their law office at (508) 480-8202.

About the Author

David Katz

Attorney David S.Katz is the founder and managing partner of the Katz Law Group, P.C., located in Marlborough, Massachusetts...

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