The company Recaba Inversiones Turísticas, owner of two restaurants in Valencia, has claimed more than 660,000 euros in moral damages to the Tripadvisor travel portal for including their establishments without permission and allowing "slanderous" opinions without control.
The lawsuit also argues that the platform has not deleted the profiles of the premises and has cited as evidence three opinions of users in which one of the restaurants of the company was accused of «swindling Social Security», being a local « without labor rights "and serving" toxic "food.
The case was brought to court this Thursday in the commercial court number 7 of Barcelona, in a procedure called for by the company that owns the restaurants against Tripadvisor due to unfair competition and conduct "contrary to good faith".
During the interrogation, the VP of Tripadvisor, Bradford Young, explained that both the owners and the rest of users can create business profiles, and in any case the platform reviews the request based on established guidelines.
Regarding the control of the opinions of travelers, Young has detailed that they have a system that guarantees "reliable" opinions, which combines an algorithm that captures hundreds of attributes and a human team to find opinions that do not conform to the guidelines, for example, those that are not first hand.
In addition to these previous controls, he added, the platform allows to report comments and delete them, besides giving the option to the owners to answer the opinions for free and without the right of reply by the original author: «The business always has the last word» .
When the prosecution asked him if among the parameters for approving opinions were "slander and accusations of crime", Young replied that it is also "important" that users know if the business may be committing infractions.
"There are hundreds of opinions related to crimes that the owners wish would not be there, but that is not the reason why they are deleted, but because it has not been a first-hand opinion," he remarked.
Finally, he has argued that Tripadvisor does not allow deleting business profiles because they defend the right of users to share their experiences and to be able to search for information about their destinations: "If we cancel them, we would be silencing the critics. We must safeguard freedom of expression ».
The director of contents of Tripadvisor, Catherine Grace, who also testified during the trial, has defended the platform's content verification system and added that the owners have several means of communication if they do not agree with their decisions.
In addition, it has stressed that the three negative comments that the complainant company has attached to the complaint were reported and two of them deleted, while the third remained published after being verified by the company's channels.
In the conclusions phase, the prosecution considered that Tripadvisor does not "timely" control "harmful" information, thus damaging the claimant's right to honor, and prevents the right to delete the business, which is why it has committed "abuses contrary to good faith".
For its part, the defense has considered proven the control mechanisms of the platform, has indicated that two of the evidence of the accusation had been erased from Tripadvisor even before the claim was filed and the company that owns it has not presented any evidence to disprove the affirmations. .