Answer: No. Not yet, anyway.
That was the decision the California Supreme Court came to in a 4-3 vote July 2. This ruling is the latest in the case Hassell v. Bird, in which Hassell Law Group filed a lawsuit against Ava Bird for defamation after she left a negative review on Yelp that encouraged others to stay away from the firm.
A lower California court ruled in Hassell’s favor because Bird didn’t show, ordering Yelp, which was not involved in the case, to remove the review. Yelp appealed, arguing that the order violated its rights under the Communications Decency Act, which states that companies are not liable for what users post on their online platforms. The case went all the way to the state supreme court, and it was followed closely by many online companies such as Facebook, Twitter and Reddit.
“With this decision, online publishers in California can be assured that they cannot be lawfully forced to remove third-party speech through enterprising abuses of the legal system, and those of us that use such platforms to express ourselves cannot be easily silenced through such tactics either,” said Yelp in a statement.