Bill Outlawing “Gag Clauses” That Punish Customers For Writing Negative Reviews Goes To President

Jennifer Moo

After more than a year of waiting, Congress has finally okayed a piece of legislation that, if signed by the president, will stop companies from using so-called “non-disparagement” or “gag” clauses to prevent or discourage customers from writing honest reviews. [More]

Uber: No, We’re Not Going To Sell User Information

Alper Çuğun

Late last week, Twitter began to light up with claims that Uber had changed its terms of service to give the company the right to to modify and sell users’ data — not a minor concern for any privacy-minded consumer. However, Uber points out that the specific clause at the center of this mini-controversy is not new, not unique to the ride-hailing service, and doesn’t give the company that god-like authority some people are claiming. [More]

Chipotle

Chipotle Says Its New Burger Restaurant Is “Off To A Very Good Start”

In a bit of a bright spot of news for beleaguered Chipotle, the chain says that sales at its new — and so far, only — Tasty Made burger restaurant in Ohio are “strong” after a few weeks of being open. [More]

(jdong)

California Supreme Court To Review Yelp’s Case For Not Removing Allegedly Defamatory Reviews

Two months after a California appeals court attempted to put an end to a years-long dispute between a lawyer and a former client she accused of posting defamatory reviews by ordering Yelp to take down the comments, the Supreme Court of California unanimously agreed to hear an appeal of the case. [More]

No, Yelp’s Star Ratings Don’t Make It Liable For Bad Reviews

No, Yelp’s Star Ratings Don’t Make It Liable For Bad Reviews

Federal law generally protects websites from liability for content posted by third parties, otherwise online review platforms like Yelp would need to vet every single review before it gets published. But a small-business owner in Washington believes Yelp is liable because of its star ratings and because Yelp reviews can end up on Google search results. [More]

House Passes Bill Outlawing “Gag Clauses” That Try To Punish Customers For Writing Negative Reviews

Jennifer Moo

We’re nearing the finish line for a piece of legislation that will make it illegal for companies to put so-called “gag orders” in their customer contracts to prevent consumers from sharing their honest opinions with the rest of the world. [More]

Renee Rendler-Kaplan

Google Will Actually Deliver Burritos By Drone To Some Lucky College Kids

The eternal college conundrum: I am hungry, but too tired, busy, lazy, hungry, or hung-over to go to the place where the food I want is being sold. Why can’t lunch just appear on command and drop out of the sky? [More]

Ángel Raúl Ravelo Rodríguez

AT&T Exempts AT&T-Owned DirecTV App From Mobile Data Caps

DirecTV and AT&T joined up and moved in together just over a year ago. The merged company started launching meager combo offerings soon after, but it’s taken it a while to warm up into the main event. Now, it seems, we’re getting there, because AT&T is about to start taking advantage of its 141 million North American wireless customers when it comes to expanding DirecTV.

[More]

Will

Study: The “Better” Walmarts Are In Higher-Income, Whiter Areas

All Walmarts are, bluntly, not created equal. Some have better customer service than others and are just plain more pleasant shopping experiences. And if you’ve felt like the Walmarts in richer ZIP codes are more likely to be the nicer ones, well, one study says you’re right.

[More]

Petsitter Loses $1 Million Lawsuit Over Negative Yelp Review

photo: colonelchi

The six-month saga of the Texas petsitter who sued a customer for up to $1 million in damages over a negative Yelp review appears to have come to an end, with a judge agreeing to dismiss the case that made national headlines. [More]

Great Beyond

Yelp, TripAdvisor Not Happy With Google’s New Critics’ Review Search Results

TripAdvisor and Yelp, two of the biggest names in crowdsourced reviews, say that Google is using its position as the dominant online search engine to push Google-backed reviews ahead of links to review sites. [More]

Yelp Explains Why It’s Flagging “Questionable Legal Threats” In Reviews

Yelp Explains Why It’s Flagging “Questionable Legal Threats” In Reviews

A couple months ago, while writing an update to the ongoing saga of the Texas couple being sued for writing a negative Yelp review about their petsitter, we noticed that Yelp had flagged the petsitter’s page with an alert that this particular review was being challenged in court. Now the company is going a step further, flagging reviews that have led to “Questionable Legal Threats.” [More]

Misfit Photographer

Government Just Sends Letters To Providers Accused Of HIPAA Violations, Doesn’t Tell Public

The federal government is not as rich and all-powerful as we sometimes think: while the Office for Civil Rights of the the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has the responsibility of dealing with possible violations of patients’ privacy by medical care providers, it doesn’t have tee budget to post the warning letters that it sends after a single breach online. Is that useful information that the government should know about? Experts say that it is. [More]

photographynatalia

FCC, Congress Go At It About Pretty Much Everything Once Again

The more the FCC actually tries to create or change regulations around communications companies, the more often chairman Tom Wheeler and the other four commissioners find themselves ordered to Capitol Hill for some kind of hearing. And so today in the continuing series, “The FCC And A Congressional Committee Argue With Each Other,” we learned more about privacy, set-top boxes, and zero-rating.

[More]

jdong

Yelp Ordered To Remove Allegedly Defamatory Reviews Of Law Firm

Two years after a California lawyer won a default judgment against a former client accused of posting defamatory reviews of the law firm on Yelp, those reviews remained online. However, this week a California appeals court ruled that Yelp must finally remove these reviews.  [More]

Couple That Was Sued For $1M Over Yelp Review Asks Court To Dismiss Lawsuit

Couple That Was Sued For $1M Over Yelp Review Asks Court To Dismiss Lawsuit

For months, we’ve been following the saga of the Texas couple who were first sued by their petsitter for $6,766 over a negative Yelp review, only to have that case dropped and re-filed as a full-on defamation lawsuit seeking up to $1 million in damages. Now, the couple is asking the court to just throw the entire case out because it should be prohibited by Texas state law. [More]

Fujoshi Bijou

Some Health Providers Are Sharing Patients’ Info Online In Reaction To Bad Yelp Reviews

Now that we live in a world where it seems everything can be rated — from your restaurant experience to your root canal — privacy issues are popping up in unexpected places. Like in health care providers’ responses to negative reviews from patients on Yelp, for example.

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Ben Roffelsen Photography

Reddit, Yelp, Kickstarter, 55 Other Internet Businesses And Activists Ask FCC To Investigate Zero-Rating

That thing where an ISP — like your wireless or cable company — can exempt certain services from counting against your data cap is called zero-rating, and it exists in a weird regulatory space. There are no rules against it, but there are also no rules explicitly permitting it. The businesses that do it, of course, say it is “innovative” and “competitive.” The FCC hasn’t openly decided whether or not it agrees. So a whole huge group of consumer advocates, business advocates, and businesses have gotten together to ask the FCC officially, and publicly, make up its mind.

[More]