25 Oct 2019

Published in: Member News

A national law firm is calling on Google to do more to crack down on fake and malicious reviews following a spate of scathing online comments it believes were made using false accounts.

Over the course of five days the firm, Clarke Willmott, was alerted to a number of one-star reviews on Google, all directed at its conveyancing service and all from newly created accounts with no other activity.

Once the “reviews” were spotted, all were responded to as well as being reported to Google through the tech giant’s official channels.

However, the law firm has yet to receive any response or even acknowledgement from Google. It is well established that the process of removing fake reviews from Google is extremely difficult.

“Having carefully looked into this we are confident these are malicious reviews, possibly from a single person using multiple fake accounts,” said Martin Palmer, Director of Marketing at the firm.

“These are clearly false statements. Our reputation is everything to us and we won’t tolerate baseless accusations made anonymously and with the clear intention of harming our good name.”

He added: “We believe Google, as the owner of the platform on which these reviews are published, should do more to stamp out obviously faked accounts. As a minimum they need to make it easier for such reviews to be taken down, while ensuring those who do make such statements online are accountable for their potentially actionable comments.”

Since the reviews were posted online Clarke Willmott has carried out an internal review but so far that investigation has not found any connections between the claims made and the work carried out by its conveyancing teams. The claims are even more galling given the extremely positive responses that the firm receives from genuine clients in relation to the quality of their service.

Martin continued: “Defamation and malicious falsehoods have always applied to classic forms of publications, such as newspaper articles, radio broadcasts and so on, but in today’s digital world some people seem to think the same rules don’t apply.

“In reality, however, even tweets have been ruled defamatory by the courts, with political agitators such as Katie Hopkins falling foul of this.”

He added: “We are calling on platforms like Google to be far more stringent when it comes to obviously faked reviews and to react much faster to complaints given the huge damage that is being caused to companies’ reputations.”

Issued on behalf of Clarke Willmott LLP by Empica PR. For further information contact Kayleigh Penny or Louie Hadley on 01275 394400.

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