Getting Legal Threats For Trying To Expose Scams
With the explosion of user generated contents like blogs and forums in the development of Web 2.0, many consumers will search the web before buying something. This has not gone un-noticed by service and product providers. Some have tried to get positive reviews by giving rewards, be it by cash or in kind. In the United States, bloggers have to make ‘clear and conspicuous’ disclosures if they have been rewarded in any way. The Media Development Authority (MDA) is also looking at stricter disclosure rules.
On the flip side, some bloggers have been threatened with lawsuits for giving negative comments. In a report on the 19th Oct ’09 edition of The Straits Times – Food bloggers face legal heat over reviews, some food bloggers have been threatened with legal suits for posting poor reviews.
Providers certainly have the right to correct a defamation, but don’t consumers have the right to voice their displeasure? The difficulty is in determining who is right and who is wrong.
Due to the high legal cost, many of those who are threatened with legal suits end up removing their comments. Those who have the financial backing would be in a better position to take up the legal challenge. Scammers in Singapore have taken advantage of this to suppress those without the financial muscle to take to the courts. When faced with a mighty opponent, usually a big newspaper publisher, scammers would think twice about engaging them in court.
I have personally seen a legal threat from a scammer issued to a friend. Without the financial resources, my friend have to take down the postings.
The next time you search the web for information on some investment schemes, do not assume that all is well when you do not find negative information. For such truths may have been removed, ironically through the system that is supposed to embody ‘the Truth, the whole Truth and nothing but the Truth’…