An apartment complex in Florida recently required residents to sign a "Social Media Addendum", the terms of which banned them from posting negative comments or reviews of the complex on websites such as Yelp, Facebook, and Apartment Ratings. If the rules were breached, the offending tenant would be up for a $10,000 fine.
Unsurprisingly, this plan backfired spectacularly. Before the Social Media Addendum was revealed to residents and published by Ars Technica, the complex, called Windermere Cay, had just two reviews on Yelp. Now the complex has been reviewed by more than 100 people, giving an average rating of just one star.
Most of the reviews have been posted by people who don't live in the complex, but were understandably outraged that its management would fine people $10,000 for a bad review. One reviewer called the owners of the complex "anti-free speech Nazis", while another said the company "has proven a complete and total disregard for its residents."
After the news of the addendum begun spreading, and the negative reviews started to flow in, the Windermere Cay management decided to void the social media contract for all residents. While this is good news for those living in the complex, it won't make the bad reviews disappear.
Stories like this show that, as you might expect, if you try and ban people from posting negative reviews, you'll likely end up with more negative reviews than you would have received otherwise. Creating policies such as the one Windermere Cay decided to force on its residents are more trouble than they're worth.