When are negative Google reviews considered defamatory?

While unpleasant, the impact of a negative google review on your business page is not always the end of the world. It can, however, deter new clients or customers from doing business with you. While it may seem daunting, turning a bad customer review into a positive for your business is easier than you think. Check out our article on how to respond to negative reviews.

A one-star review with a negative comment can be unfair, unkind and cruel, but it might not be enough to pursue an action in defamation.

When does Google consider a review defamatory?

  • If it goes against civil discourse and features harassment, hate speech, offensive content or contains personal information.
  • If it features deceptive content, including fake engagement, impersonation, misinformation, or misrepresentation.
  • If it displays mature content, including obscenity, profanity, sexually explicit content, adult-themed content, violence or gore.
  • If it contains regulated, dangerous or illegal information, including restricted, dangerous, illegal or terrorist content or endangers child safety.
  • If it features poor information quality, such as off-topic, advertising and solicitation or gibberish and repetitive content.

Click here to view Google’s full policy on prohibited and restricted content.

How to ask Google to remove a defamatory review

You can use Google Maps or Google Search to report an inappropriate review for removal. Once removed, the review will stop showing on both.

Flag a review in Google Maps

  1. On your computer, open Google Maps.
  2. Find your Business Profile.
  3. Find the review you want to report.
  4. Click More (3 vertical dots) and select Flag as inappropriate.

Flag a review in Google Search

  1. On your computer, sign in to manage your Business Profile.
  2. Choose the review you’d like to report:
    Single business: Open the profile you would like to manage. On the left, in the menu, click Reviews.
    Multiple businesses: On the left, in the menu, click Manage reviews. Then use the drop-down menu to choose a location group. (This option is not for organisation accounts.)
  3. On the review, you want to flag, click More (3 vertical dots) and select Flag as inappropriate.


Did you know that any one or two-star reviews can be sent to your inbox directly to respond to offline with the Smart Reviews platform? Learn more about the platform and how it can make getting quality reviews for your business a breeze!

Written by Andrea Sevilla

Andrea is our Marketing Consultant & Copywriter who works with our clients to craft content for their websites, blog articles, promotional materials and more!

Want to know when new articles are published?

Drop your details in below... Don't worry, we are not into spam!

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

Recent articles

by Heath Maguire

Why Your Business Needs Specialised WordPress Hosting

Your website serves as the front door to your business. It’s where first impressions are formed and often where customer decisions are made. For businesses using WordPress, choosing the right hosting solution is not just a technical decision; it’s a business one. Unfortunately, many small to medium-sized businesses, in an attempt to cut costs or simplify processes, opt to host their websites on shared hosting provided by their IT companies.

by Andrea Sevilla

Our top 10 tips for a killer landing page

In today's fast-paced online world, capturing and retaining your audience's attention is crucial. That's where a killer landing page comes in. In this article, we've compiled our top 10 tips to help you create a landing page that converts visitors into customers. By implementing these tips, you'll be well on your way to crafting a landing page that captivates your audience and drives them to take action. Get ready to unleash the power of your landing page and watch your conversions soar!

Want to know when new articles are published?

Drop your details in below... Don't worry, we are not into spam!

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

Let's do this!

Please enter your details below and we will send our Branding Cheat Sheet to you!