But First, Let Me Take A Selfie

We all follow at least one person who pops up in our Instagram feed way too often.   They’re not the one posting group photos.  They’re not even posting photos of their food.  They’re the one who has perfected the angle to tilt their IPhone in order to get the best “Selfie”.  And they have the perfect filter to go with it.  We know their gym schedule.  We know when they’re getting ready for their night out.  We know when it’s bed time.  Their Selfies allow us to follow their schedules very closely.

For us followers, we can’t help but wonder- What are they thinking? Don’t they know they look ridiculous?  But for the repeat “Selfie” offenders, it could be a sign of an actual addiction.

For some people, the lyrics “first, let me take a Selfie” may ring true to a psychological disorder.  In one serious case, “A British male teenager tried to commit suicide after he failed to take the perfect selfie. Danny Bowman became so obsessed with capturing the perfect shot that he spent 10 hours a day taking up to 200 selfies.”[1]

Instagram users, especially the biggest “Selfie” offenders, may feed off the idea of receiving more and more “likes” on their photos to validate that people are in fact enjoying viewing their Selfies.  On celebrity instagrams, for example, Kendall Jenner, you see thousands of comments saying “LB for LB.”  This means that if you like one of that user’s photos, they will like one of yours back.  And for the Selfie addict, what better way to feel validated than to receive likes from random strangers?

What do you think? Can posting too many selfies be a sign of an actual addiction?

[1] http://www.realfarmacy.com/scientists-link-selfies-to-narcissism-addiction-mental-illness/#yQqQKLJZuagJXysL.99

YELP and the Anonymous User

Yelp, a popular website where customers post reviews, allows users to post anonymously or by using their log in. When a business claims to be harmed by an anonymous review, how quick should Courts be to require that Yelp give the information behind the “anonymous” user in order for a business owner to pursue a defamation claim?

In January 2014, a Virginia carpet cleaning company suspected that seven reviewers who posted negative reviews made up the reviews altogether. In fact, Hadeed Carpet claimed that the seven reviewers were never even customers of the company. The Court believed that Hadeed had sufficiently reviewed company records, supporting their claim that the reviews were not written by actual customers of the carpet company, and therefore were defamatory.

Opponents to the Court’s ruling argue that Virginia’s standard for the claim of defamation is too weak, and that Haddad did not put forth any real evidence that these reviews were not written by real customers.

While my tendencies may not speak for the majority, Yelp reviews play a huge part in my decision to visit a restaurant, spa, or store. Negative reviews lead me to search for the next best place. Businesses should be able to protect themselves from fake reviews. If Courts are able to determine a balanced standard, the interests of free speech and protection against defamatory claims can be reached.

How will Courts balance these competing arguments? How easy will it become for a business owner who received an anonymous negative review to obtain the user’s real data from Yelp?