NEW YORK, NY – California’s Supreme Court has ruled that online review website Yelp can not be legally forced to take down libellous reviews, signalling a clear win for online publishers who allow user feedback, comments and reviews of businesses on their platforms.
The ruling was related to a case on the books known as Hassell v. Bird, where Judge Donald Sullivan ordered Yelp to remove a users review of a law firm from the Yelp website. Yelp appealed to the Supreme Court of California citing the Communications Decency Act, 47 U.S.C § 230.
Section 230(c)(1) provides immunity from liability for providers and users of an “interactive computer service” who publish information provided by third-party users:
No provider or user of an interactive computer service shall be treated as the publisher or speaker of any information provided by another information content provider.
For the full case document click here.
Ultimately and thankfully, the Supreme Court of California ruled that directing Yelp to remove reviews from its website would improperly treat Yelp as “the publisher or speaker of information provided by another information” content provider.