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What would you do if a company asked you to remove content?

Written by Tyme White on June 25, 2008

Many bloggers/writers state an opinion in their articles. Sometimes it is a formal review or it could be someone sharing an experience they had. What would you do if the company or person you were talking about contacted you and requested that you remove the article? This situation happens often. Reading Ars Technica, Atari went after a site over their negative review. The site received a copy of the game early, not via the publisher, and Atari claims the site did not respect the embargo on the game. If the site received the game via the publisher that would make sense, however, the site allegedly received the game earlier via retail. The site claims Atari pulled their advertising campaign with them in retaliation. In another example, a blogger wrote a negative restaurant review and the restaurant owner called their job to complain about it.

I know, you’re thinking that you don’t write reviews and this couldn’t or wouldn’t happen to you. What about when you have a bad experience with a company and you blog about it? What if that company contacted you and wanted to sue? Honestly, you don’t hear companies going off when they are written about in a positive light. You have a lousy flight experience, you write about your experience and a week or two later the airline is threatening you. What do you do?

That’s something to research. What are the laws in your area? Do you want to fight for your rights or do you not care and you’ll just remove the article? What are the goals of your site and how do the answers to those questions fit in with your future plans?

Many people get online and write without really thinking through the possible repercussions of what they do; until it is too late (action has already been taken against you). The longer one writes online the more experienced one becomes in these areas. Some people decide to fight it tooth and nail. Others remove the article in question (or does whatever it takes not to go to court) to resolve the issue quickly. One response isn’t “better” than the other – it depends on your goals for you site. So, to get the ball rolling:

If you received a request to remove an article where you expressed your opinion or experience about a company or service, would you fight it or would you remove the article? The sad point in situations like this, the law might be on the writer’s side but the writer would have to spend resources to have the law recognized in their favor. Some people or companies have to learn that negative criticism will come…learn from it.