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Food Blogger Asked by French Court to Delete Negative Review of Italian Café

Last July, we brought you news about a food blogger being penalized by a French court for leaving a negative review of an Italian café. It was kind of a weird story – the sort of thing we don’t expect to happen in America, or we hope wouldn’t happen, if only to protect our right to free speech. (Check out: “California Bill to Protect Consumers’ Right to Leave Negative Reviews”)

Meanwhile, in France, it seems like unhappy diners are going to be prevented from writing more negative reviews.

According to reports, a group of French restaurateurs have launched a public petition to ban defamatory, potentially damaging negative reviews. Called “No insulting opinions to restaurants (translated)” and addressed to the French Minister of Commerce, the petition was started by well-known Michelin-starred chef Pascal Favre d’Anne, calling for the “prohibition of judging and of posting defamatory comments and subjective observations on members of staff in our restaurants. We ask review sites to moderate their users and to ask for proof of their visits to our establishments.”

In France – where 9 out of 10 consumers check online reviews before making a purchase or booking decision – the petition is quickly gaining traction and currently has well over 1800 signatories, including the renowned twin chef brothers Jacques and Laurent Pourcel and master chef Jean-Luc Rabanel.

The low tolerance that French business owners seem to have over negative online reviews provides stark contrast to the review landscape in the US, where a bill has recently been passed to place fines on business owners who prevent customers from leaving negative reviews of their establishments. Certainly, US laws make it more difficult to censor consumers’ opinions, and any effort to do so is unlikely to be met by the public with approval. This New York hotel’s customer-offensive review policy, for example, has gone viral on the Internet for all the wrong reasons.

If you’re a business owner hoping to manage your business reputation online, we highly recommend that you embrace – instead of censor – your online reviews. Here are some articles we’ve written in order to help you do that:

Migs Bassig

Migs is the Content Manager for ReviewTrackers. He's a creative writer who has helped numerous companies communicate more effectively online, and he loves sharing his local marketing knowledge to help brands and business succeed.

Discussion

  1. Chris Green

    What about the freedom of speech and having your opinion? What is the reason of checking online reviews if the bad ones are taken down? All reviews will be 4-5 star reviews and in that case it is the same where you will eat. negative reviews should be highlighted and not taken down, so other people can know what is waiting for them when they visit the restaurant. The restaurants that are providing only top meals and service should not be afraid. If they are, well, then they are not providing the best quality and it would be better to focus on why they are getting negative reviews instead of trying to prevent them from happening.

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