That’s what happened to a guy in Kalamazoo, Mich. The New York Times has an interesting story:
After a towing company hauled Justin Kurtz’s car from his apartment complex parking lot, despite his permit to park there, Mr. Kurtz, 21, a college student in Kalamazoo, Mich., went to the Internet for revenge. Outraged at having to pay $118 to get his car back, Mr. Kurtz created a Facebook page called “Kalamazoo Residents against T&J Towing.” Within two days, 800 people had joined the group, some posting comments about their own maddening experiences with the company. T&J filed a defamation suit against Mr. Kurtz, claiming the site was hurting business and seeking $750,000 in damages.
Web sites like Facebook, Twitter and Yelp have given individuals a global platform on which to air their grievances with companies. But legal experts say the soaring popularity of such sites has also given rise to more cases like Mr. Kurtz’s, in which a business sues an individual for posting critical comments online.
It sounds as if California has protections against what’s called a Strategic Lawsuit against Public Participation, or Slapp, in which lawsuits are used as an intimidation technique to silence critics. But I’m sure as online opinion aggregators and social media sites grow ever more powerful, we’ll be seeing more push-back from businesses.
Photo/ New York Times