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It's Not Yelp's Fault You Suck

Posted on 9.13.2016

Online review site Yelp, and its oft maligned star-rating system, is not responsible for negative reviews of businesses because it is based on user input, ruled a federal appeals court this week. 

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That ruling dismisses what many consider a wholly ridiculous lawsuit filed against Yelp by a locksmith company.

The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said the star-rating system that Yelp features is not content created by the company. Under federal law, the decision said, Yelp is not liable for content its users post. 

The appeals court has ruled previously that the 1996 Communications Decency Act lets websites provide "neutral tools" to post material online and that they cannot be held liable for libelous or potentially libelous material posted by third parties.

The recent ruling affirmed a lower federal court decision that also dismissed the claim that Yelp should be held liable for distributing reviews to search engines.

The appeals court said distributing the content does not make Yelp the creator or developer of the content.

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