Opinion > Online influence a crime?Posted by Hendrickus on 07-21-2014
Recently, a French judge in the city of Bordeaux ruled in favour of a restaurant owner who was unhappy with the negative online attention his bussiness was receiving due to a very critical review by a French food blogger. With some 3000 followers, the blog Cultur'elle was deemed to be too influential by the ruling judge, mainly because of the prominent position it held in Google Searches related to the restaurant. Not only was the blogger forced to delete her critical article; she is also expected to pay a total amount of 2500 euro in reparations to the restaurant and its owner. According to the BBC, the French blogger replied to the verdict saying that "this decision creates a new crime of being too highly ranked [on a search engine], or of having too great an influence". Although the news agency stresses this sort of ruling does not create a legal precedent in the French legal system, it appears to be alarming to say the least.
Should people really be held responsible for their influential opinions when these significantly affect a certain business, or should these businesses instead simply make sure there is nothing to complain about? To me, this certainly looks like a restriction on the freedom of speech. If bad reviews are punishable by law, there might perhaps better be no reviews at all. Moreover, can an indivual, like the blogger in this case, really be blamed for his or her influence through Google searches, when this person has no relation with the search company at all? Should complaints about Google searches, if this is where the real problem lies, not be taken up with Google rather than the individual blogger? Please, let us know what you think!
france blogger food restaurant fine