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Geox Strasbourg store victim of an avalanche of false negative reviews online after the controversy

After the death threats, a flood of negative opinions calling for resignation.

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Geox Strasbourg store victim of an avalanche of false negative reviews online after the controversy

After the death threats, a flood of negative opinions calling for resignation... Since the publication on social networks of a video showing the manager of the Geox Strasbourg store refusing to employ a veiled temporary worker, the Google Maps page of the he brand has become the scene of a malicious digital raid. Opinions far from being trivial, as the famous online rating can now play an important role in the attractiveness of a business.

Calls to sully the brand's digital reputation really started on X, formerly Twitter. As of Thursday, several Internet users publicly advised posting false reviews on the Geox Strasbourg Google page. “Don’t hesitate to go to Google, Geox, Strasbourg, and leave a very bad review. It will make these racists feel bad,” notes an X user. “Google Geox Strasbourg... Leave them really disgusting reviews. Boycott,” writes another. “Geox is going to post dirty reviews,” we can also read. Or even “Hey guys, put as many negative reviews as possible!!”.

Another Internet user advises being discreet in your comment to avoid being “burned” by Google, in order to avoid the false review being deleted. All while publishing an image of the comment left on the American platform. “I would like to highlight the incompetence and lack of professionalism of the manager named Nicolas. This person showed a lack of respect towards me and certain customers, but above all the abuse of power over his salespeople. He does not have the capacity to be responsible at all, and I hope this person is removed from office as quickly as possible,” he posted. A user also wrote on Google “Nicola the Islamophobe who should be ashamed to be banned from this store”.

Thursday evening, after this rush, the brand had 110 reviews on Google with an average rating of 2.7 out of 5. These negative comments published obviously had no link with the quality of the services offered by the store and did not reveal anything a truly lived customer experience. This situation prompted Google to temporarily block reviews and delete those recently posted. A fairly usual approach for the American company. The group keeps tabs on posts, through “manual” verification as well as automated detection systems capable of spotting suspicious reviews. “Maps is not intended to become a platform propagating personal attacks, or political or social comments. Content that does not comply with this rule will be deleted,” the company warns in its terms of use. This Friday, the Geox Strasbourg Google Maps page had therefore recovered its rating of 4.1, with 62 reviews.

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These malicious and discriminatory fake reviews can be punished by law. “Negative reviews may be illegal if they constitute acts of defamation, insult or violate a person's privacy,” explains the Deshoulières law firm. And continues: “These false reviews can be deleted and their author convicted.” As such, on June 22, 2022, the Paris Judicial Court also ruled that fraudulent Google reviews which call into question “the quality of the services offered, by a company or a professional, with a view to encouraging potential customers to turn away constitute acts of denigration giving rise to the condemnation of their author to compensate the victim for the damage suffered. That same year, an Internet user was ordered to pay an injured merchant 1,000 euros for damages and 800 euros for legal costs.

On the internet, the controversy is not about to die down: now, Internet users are calling for more positive opinions to support the manager who is facing death. “Come EVERYONE to support Geox by putting positive reviews on Google to counterbalance the opinions of the Islamists,” wrote one of them on X.

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