Wednesday, November 07, 2012

Privacy and substantiation

The UK's ASA just upheld a complaint against an ad for a consumer review site, holding that, because the site discarded consumer details such as email after determining that a review seemed legit, it couldn't substantiate its claims to have legit reviews.  One reading is that it wasn't clear that the advertiser had used the same careful scrutiny in the past that it now did, so that there were legacy reviews on the site that might have been bogus, but the language was also broad enough to suggest that having a good procedure isn't enough if you can't later track down the consumer who provided the review.

NB: while I don't think you'd get this result in the US, section 230 would most likely not protect the kinds of claims at issue--"our reviews are from real consumers" and the like, since the advertiser itself created that content.


Eric Goldman said...

I don't know about the US treatment, Rebecca. See Milo v. Martin,

Rebecca Tushnet said...

Fair enough, Eric--but as you probably know, I think that's not what a false advertising claim looks like: the increment of the site's belief in its submissions is relevant to false advertising, but not as relevant to defamation/intentional infliction of emotional distress type torts, where it's the underlying statement doing the real damage.