Sunlight is said to be the best disinfectant, so Louis Brandeis said.
Eyal Zamir and Christoph Engel ponder cases where anonymity and lack of transparency serve justice better, such as the desirability of ensuring that American jurors are not doxxed and influenced (for instance, and my words, by vociferous persons who have not heard all the evidence).
When it comes to reviews, whether of works of literature or products or services that are being marketed to potential customers, clients or investors, full disclosure is preferable....and even enforced by law.
Lack of disclosures bit Kim Kardashian recently, when an example was made of her by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission because she appeared to recommend some kind of cryptocurrency without advising her myriads of followers that she had been paid "a consideration" to promote said product.
(Myriads of... is appropriate here, as the lady doubtless has many multiples of ten thousand followers. Some say, she has 331,000,000 of them.)
Legal bloggers Venable LLP explain why a too-short series of social media posts caused Kim Kardashian to not only forfeit the $250,000 that she was paid, but also $1,000,000, and other costs.of the law firm
The SEC has stated, “Any celebrity or other individual who promotes a virtual token or coin that is a security must disclose the nature, scope, and amount of compensation received in exchange for the promotion.”
Meanwhile, the FTC (Federal Trade Commission) is taking an active interest in the use and abuse of customer/reader/guest reviews and the dark phenomenon of consumer review fraud.
There are businesses that spring up like mushrooms (in the dark, where the sun don't shine), that for a fee will post fake positive reviews of whatever their customers pay to promote, and at the same time will post fake negative reviews for their paying customers' competitors.
It is claimed that some will edit other peoples' reviews without the author's consent, either to tweak them into something more positive or more negative. One would have thought that such a practice would be some kind of copyright infringement! There are also platforms that will simply delete negative reviews.
Reviews are a low-cost and quite powerful marketing tool for authors, professionals, hotel chains and even doctors and dentists, but as with the problems that social media influencers can bring upon themselves for not disclosing what is paid-for, reviewers ought to know that they must disclose any incentives they might have been given in exchange for their review.
Here is a brief snip from the Federal Trade Commission guidance
Don’t ask for reviews only from people you think will leave positive ones.
If you offer an incentive to consumers for leaving a review, don’t condition it, explicitly or implicitly, on the review being positive. Even without that condition, offering an incentive to write a review may introduce bias or change the weight and credibility that readers give that review. For these reasons, some platforms have prohibited incentivized reviews altogether or have established mechanisms for labeling them.
Don’t prevent or discourage people from submitting negative reviews.
Legal bloggers Alexandra Megaris and Peter Kim of the law firm Venable LLP's All About Advertising Law blog discuss various unfair and deceptive acts, and share great tips for platforms, marketers and reviewers.
https://www.allaboutadvertisinglaw.com/2022/10/a-sign-of-the-times-federal-trade-commission-releases-guidance-on-consumer-reviews.html#page=1All the best,
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