ALERT: Madgwicks Lawyers successfully obtain orders against Google to unmask a reviewer using a pseudonym

 

Madgwicks Partner, Catherine Ballantyne, has today successfully obtained orders in the Federal Court of Australia against Google LLC to unmask a reviewer using a pseudonym.

This is particularly relevant as today, the High Court has also handed down a judgment which states that Google LLC is not a publisher of defamatory material if the material appears in a link displayed by a search [1].

In light of the High Court decision, the orders obtained by Madgwicks are important. This is because the option to bring proceedings against a search engine is not available in most cases if the original publisher of the defamatory material is unknown.

Notwithstanding this, an application can be made to the Court to seek the search engine or online platform provide the true details of an anonymous reviewer.

What is required to unmask the anonymous or fake Google reviewer?

There are two main steps in the process:

  1. orders must be obtained to serve proceedings on Google LLC in the USA; and
  2. sufficient evidence is required to convince a Court that Google LLC should provide the real name and details of the reviewer.

Each step must be supported by evidence and specific criteria met.

Conclusion

If you feel that you have been defamed in a review (or anywhere online), consider seeking legal advice because there are options available to you, even if the review is anonymous or under a pseudonym. It is possible to unmask the reviewer in order to take action however in both cases it is important to act quickly.

Contact Partner Catherine Ballantyne via catherine.ballantyne@madgwicks.com.au to discuss your own situation.

[1] Google LLC v Defteros [2022] HCA 27

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