Rating Reputation: Online Defamation and the Search for a Techno-legal Solution

The 21st century has witnessed a blossoming of rating, evaluation or even blacklisting sites. We are living in a “reputation nation,” where our conduct is evaluated often by anonymous individuals in different aspects, entailing the dangers of shame sanctions. This reputation rating system is far from being a system of formal adjudication. It may carry false or incorrect information, and may not allow an individual to correct such information.

Drawing on judicial jurisprudence in the UK, US and Germany on online rating sites, this presentation examines how different jurisdictions have endeavoured to strike the balance between reputation and freedom of expression. What has yet to be addressed is the issue of how to develop a new model with an appropriate procedural layout that can accommodate social norms, technological advancement and the legal right to protect reputation on online platforms. In this lecture, the speaker advocates for a new regime that requires online rating sites to have netiquette and information policy, including the right to reply amongst other requirements.