eu forum liability from member messages?


Dec 30, 2012
Hey all, I'm really having no success searching for this so I decided to ask here. I'm sorry if this the wrong category.

I want to make a forum where people can post their reviews of restaurants/shops/places etc in my country.
There are some big facebook groups at the moment that do exactly that, the problem is that one of the shop owners, who's restaurant was reviewed oh that group, took the person who wrote the review and the FB group owners to the court for defamation. So I assume the same can happen for me since I own the website.

My question regarding this. If I make a forum that does exactly that, allow members to review local places, who is liable for the content the admin or the members?


Jul 29, 2016
Generally the onus is on the content contributor, however because what is posted on your site could have a detrimental effect on someone's business, you have to be absolutely clear to your members that reviews must be accurate. It's easy for someone to take a grudge an escallate it out of proportion as revenge, so you must ensure that reviews are accurate. One possible way to do this is to make sure every review is moderated, compare them with other reviews for the same business and see if there is a correlation; for example if 50 people give a business 5 stars and someone gives it one, you need to enquire why?

It's always a risky business when you give people the power to make or break a business, so everything needs to be watertight from your perspective; it may even be prudent to seek legal advice before you even begin to think of setting up the site. Have a look at some of the other review sites, such as Trustpilot, and see how they lay out their terms and conditions.



Jan 29, 2009
No matter what you do - there is nothing that will stop a third party discussed on your site from taking you to court if they want. Now there are things you can do to push that liability to the user(s) that submitted the content - but it won't stop the initial hearing/getting dragged into it/having to defend yourself.

The question you have to ask is will the site generate enough revenue for you to be able to defend it and yourself should such a situation arise? Is there any type of insurance that can help protect you should you need to defend yourself [I don't know, but it's worth looking into].


Apr 27, 2010
I agree with Maddox. If you want your reviews (and the site) to have value, you need to ensure what people post are actual reviews, not just emotional rants. Allowing that sort of post to creep in will not only make any other reviews suspect, it may get you in legal trouble.

The easiest way is to lay out criteria for what needs to be in a review (i.e., points to cover, what not to include, etc.). You'll also have to review your reviews regularly (or approve before publishing) to make sure they are up to snuff.