10 Extraordinary Years – 2011 – Winning our first battle with Google
Winning battles against tech giants is difficult even for the biggest companies with the deepest pockets. But in November 2011, KwikChex took on a case and did precisely that – less than a year after our business was founded.
It all started with a call from a distressed computer repair technician. He told us that an anonymous review had been posted on his Google business profile that accused him of theft – and abusing a child with ‘inappropriate touching’. As a businessman visiting homes to make PC repairs, such an allegation could finish his business – and put him at risk of assault.
KwikChex advised him that he would have to be prepared to have the comments investigated by the police, which he was more than prepared to do – he was understandably desperate to clear his name. Google’s first responses after initial investigations showed that the review was a malicious act and yet another fake review was used to hide behind so-called ‘freedom of speech’ and a weakness in defamation laws when content is published online anonymously. The victim was not in a position to pay for hugely expensive and uncertain legal actions, so was dependent on the growing influence of KwikChex to help stop the consequences of the nightmare he was facing.
Another successful cooperation with the BBC – and our first appearance on primetime news
KwikChex reached out to our contacts at the BBC to help put pressure on Google – and whilst they initially told the BBC they would not resolve the situation, once they knew they were going to be condemned on the main BBC News programmes, they decided to remove the fake review. The BBC nevertheless aired the story and the reputation of KwikChex taking on some of the hardest cases was enhanced still further.
In the intervening years, KwikChex has persevered and is still doing so today after being responsible for the removal of thousands of fake reviews and helping change laws by lobbying and consulting with governments. It can be a very hard and long fight at times, but we remain determined to help see that the great virtues of freedom of speech are not undermined by becoming freedom of deceit. New initiatives to be launched in 2020, the year of our 10th anniversary, will take the resolutions to a new level.