Diritto & Internet

Court of Grosseto: Tripadvisor not to be held liable for negative reviews

Hosting providers are not to be held liable for any offences committed by their users nor are they required to remove contents at the request of subjects who claim to be injured parties. The Court of Grosseto relieves Tripadvisor from all responsibility for negative reviews by members of its community.

In judgment no. 46 of 2016, the Court of Grosseto established that providers of services such as Tripadvisor are to be considered as hosting providers and for this reason are not to be held liable for offences committed by their users.

The case was brought by a hotel in the Argentario area, which pressed charges against the travel portal in 2013 for publishing a negative review that the hotelier considered to be false and defamatory. In the opinion of the plaintiff, Tripadvisor was jointly liable for defamation, as it did not prevent the publication of the review, remove the review promptly enough following its being notified and also as it failed to agree to communicate details of the reviewer.

By rejecting the hotelier’s application, the Court of Grosseto established that the platform acted in compliance with Italian legislation. According to the judge what is important when defining a hosting service is the role played in relation to published contents: in the case in question the portal does not interfere with the contents of reviews and therefore cannot be considered liable.

With regard to the plaintiff’s grounds, the Court clarified that Tripadvisor simply qualifies as a hosting provider, despite having implemented automated filters to prevent the publication of explicitly inappropriate or fake reviews, as provided for by its privacy policy. Furthermore, the judge specified that platforms which publish user generated contents (Ugc) or contents provided by users, may at their discretion remove such contents, but are under no obligation to do so at the request of subjects who consider themselves injured parties, as the judiciary is the only competent authority to ascertain the possible defamatory nature of contents.

 
 

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Scientific Director
Prof. Avv. Giusella Finocchiaro
Editorial Curator
Dott. Giulia Giapponesi