Updated:ORLANDO, Fla. —
A person is being sued for the comments he or she made about his or her experience with a local business, and WFTV learned the business may have to spend a lot of money to prove its claims.
The lawsuit is filed against John Doe because privacy policies keep social media sites from having to give out identities unless they are subpoenaed by the courts.
“You can comment as to your opinion on the level of services you receive, but you definitely cross the line when you start accusing a business of engaging in criminal activity,” said WFTV’s legal analyst Bill Sheaffer.
That’s what the owners of restaurant supply company One Fat Frog in Orlando said happened to them.
The company is suing a person they said has ruined their reputation and caused them to lose business with posts that called the company fraudulent.
A comment on RipOffReport.com said things were being sold illegally and a different page about the company said it sold stolen goods.
Sheaffer said First Amendment rights may not protect people when it comes to making complaints on blogs.
“It is not within your First Amendment right, however, to start accusing either an individual, or a corporation, or business of engaging in illegal activity,” Sheaffer said.
Sheaffer said anyone who accuses a company of any illegal activity on the Internet needs to have a strong case.
“It’s going to be expensive, it’s going to be time consuming, and if you lose, you stand to lose quite a bit,” he said.
One Fat Frog had six complaints with the Better Business Bureau in the last three years.
WFTV called the company for comment, but they did not call back.