How Do I Know If I Am Morally Responsible?

5 Pages Posted: 29 Sep 2017

See all articles by Bidhan L. Parmar

Bidhan L. Parmar

University of Virginia - Darden School of Business


In this note, a chef perceives that a website reviewer is responsible for his slowing business because the reviewer allowed fake reviews about his restaurant to be posted; it follows that the chef would like this behavior to stop.



Sept. 11, 2017

How Do I Know If I Am Morally Responsible?

Javier Torres Mazza was the owner and webmaster of the most popular restaurant review website in Buenos Aires, Argentina. Each day, thousands of people would browse his site to select where they were going to have breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and hundreds of patrons wrote helpful reviews about their dining experiences. One afternoon, Torres Mazza received an e-mail from an angry chef accusing him of publicizing lies about his new contemporary restaurant, ArCo. The chef alleged that several reviews displayed on the restaurant website were fake and costing him business. He wondered if competitors were paying people to write these negative reviews because they were jealous of his recent success. The chef wanted these reviews removed from the website.

Torres Mazza had always seen his website as a neutral place for customers to express their honest opinions about their dining experiences, but after reading the reviews in question, he doubted their veracity. Posted almost simultaneously, the wording in the reviews were suspiciously similar and came from IP addresses in countries from which paid reviewers typically posted content. Although he did not condone this use of his site and he clearly did not write the negative reviews, he worried that policing reviews could hurt his site's healthy traffic and require a considerable amount of his time and resources, so he was reluctant to start vetting every review. Still, he wondered, was he responsible in some way for ArCo's suffering business?

What is Responsibility, and Why Do We Need It?

. . .

Keywords: review website, responsibility, accountability

Suggested Citation

Parmar, Bidhan L., How Do I Know If I Am Morally Responsible?. Darden Case No. UVA-E-0414. Available at SSRN:

Bidhan L. Parmar (Contact Author)

University of Virginia - Darden School of Business ( email )

P.O. Box 6550
Charlottesville, VA 22906-6550
United States

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