Yelp may continue to filter reviews based on the BGH judgment

Yelp may continue to filter reviews based on the BGH judgment

Federal Court of Justice rating portals may filter contributions The rating portal Yelp is allowed to filter and weight the judgments of its users. If the operator indicates that the practice is legal, the BGH has now ruled. The basic judgment also affects competitors. According to a judgment of the Federal Court of Justice, Internet rating portals can sort their ratings using automated software. The display of an evaluation average and the sorting out of user evaluations according to certain criteria are protected by professional and freedom of expression, the Federal Court of Justice said on Tuesday. Traders would have to accept criticism of their performance and public discussion of criticism. The background is the complaint by a fitness studio operator against the rating portal Yelp, which felt that it was rated too poorly. She had accused the portal of not using all user contributions for its overall rating. “With today’s decision, the Federal Court of Justice is strengthening the independence of rating portals. Bad grades are covered by the right to freedom of expression, which also applies to the weighting of positive or negative ratings. It is important, however, that this is done on the basis of more understandable criteria, ”explains IT and competition law expert Sebastian Meyer from Brandi Rechtsanwälte in Bielefeld. “There’s no point in always unpacking the legal club against negative reviews. It makes more sense to motivate customers to make positive reviews. With hundreds of responses per day, it is understandable that large portals use algorithms to filter and weight user comments. That is permissible, the Karlsruhe judges have now confirmed again. Companies that are not satisfied with the overall assessment should convince their customers to rate the performance better. Freedom of expression cannot simply be undermined. ” Yelp uses automated software to sort posts into “recommended” user contributions and “currently not recommended” ones. The latter are not taken into account in the overall evaluation of a company. The reason given by Yelp is to receive millions of contributions and use the software to fish out those who “best reflect the opinion of Yelp users” or to filter out fake contributions. This software takes several factors into account, such as the quality, trustworthiness and past activity of a user on Yelp. However, the plaintiff claimed compensation from Yelp. Her complaint was initially dismissed by the Munich Regional Court. The Munich Higher Regional Court saw it differently and sentenced Yelp to damages. The rating portal must include all contributions in the overall rating and must not ignore the “currently not recommended” ratings. The Federal Court of Justice (file number: VI ZR 496 / 18) now took the view that Yelp did not give the overall rating the impression that it was an evaluation of all the contributions , The “unbiased and sensible user” of the evaluation portal was able to see how many contributions formed the basis for the overall evaluation and that it consisted exclusively of “recommended” contributions. Nothing can be sold online without positive reviews. Dubious agencies therefore provide fake recommendations on order. Online giants now fear for their credibility – and call for the state. of Henryk Hielscher, Simon Book The decision is also transferable to comparable cases in which complaints have been filed against portals and their automated processing and filtering of user ratings. It is explicitly not about the question of fake or inaccurate user reviews. “The portal operators must ensure that obviously fake or manipulated reviews are filtered out,” emphasizes Meyer. “Otherwise they are liable as a disruptor – for example, if a comment is obviously a lie.” It is enough to write to the operator and report legitimate doubts. “It usually works much faster than a lawsuit,” Meyer is convinced. “On the other hand, bought positive reviews are systematically filtered out, and rightly so. This can also lead to a poorer rating of the company. Suppliers should resist this temptation and instead try to persuade their customers. ” © Handelsblatt GmbH – All rights reserved. Acquire usage rights?
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