Businesses can actually sue you for posting negative reviews — and now Congress is fighting back

This post by professor Clay Calvert originally appeared on The Conversation on Nov. 10, 2015.

In late September, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) filed a complaint against two marketers of weight-loss supplements — Roca Labs, Inc and Roca Labs Nutraceutical USA, Inc.

According to the FTC, Roca Labs, Inc “allegedly made baseless claims for their products, and then threatened to enforce ‘gag clause’ provisions against consumers to stop them from posting negative reviews and testimonials online.”

The gag clause that the FTC refers to — in which customers unwittingly sign away their rights to post online reviews after making a purchase — is becoming increasingly common. And it’s only one of several strategies that companies have used to suppress negative reviews of their products.

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