When in Taiwan, think before you Yelp.
A blogger was sentenced to two years probation and was forced to pay a $7,000 fee after she wrote a negative review of a beef noodle restaurant in Taichung. She visited the restaurant in July 2008, when she ate dried noodles and side dishes. In her review, she noted that the food was too salty, the owner was a “bully” who did not enforce parking rules and that there were cockroaches in the restaurant.
After said owner found out about the review from another customer, he sued her for defamation, saying the review led to many customers calling the restaurant to verify the blogger’s claims.
The Taiwan High Court ruled that the claims were not backed by factual evidence. The blogger, they said, should not have referred to all the dishes as “too salty,” since she only had one dish, and also noted that the conditions were not as unsanitary as she claimed. The blogger was originally sentenced to 30 days of detention, but will not have to face jail time, since the court granted her a two-year suspended sentence after she agreed to compensate the restaurant.
For better or for worse, rulings like this would be way too difficult to carry out in the U.S. That’s because, as depicted by Funny or Die, we’re stuck with restaurant patrons like these women.