Freedom Of Speech Or Freedom to Defame?

Is it really in the prospective hair transplant patient’s best interest for website owners to allow anonymous forum posters the freedom to criticize and even defame clinics that they never had surgery with? With some forum moderators contributing to this type of misguided and unprofessional online character assassination, others maintain a firm stance against directing the narrative in order ensure that a fair and level discussion about clinical complaints takes place. If you are currently researching hair transplant surgery this is a segment you should watch.

Spencer Kobren:  What I think a lot of people don't understand is that was really an apparatus of control, and a lot of ... and listen, it worked. Let's face it. It was an apparatus of control. Physicians were scared shitless.

Joe Tillman:  Sorry. Back up. Let's be clear. The idea of allowing people to pile on to clinics or patients was an apparatus of control.

Spencer Kobren: Right. Absolutely.

Joe Tillman: Yeah.

Spencer Kobren: That's exactly what I was saying, and I'm glad that you point it out in case I wasn't clear, but ... in my view, and I took a lot of shit at the beginning, but now it's really becoming more commonplace and people are really understanding. I was just asked to write an article on ... for a pretty big, I guess, journal on the online message forum world in cosmetic surgery. I don't want to just stick to the online message forum world because I'm very biased when to the online message forum world, especially in the hair side of thing because I run things a certain way.

I choose not to have a back end, meaning I have no PMing system. I want things to be truly transparent where people are having discussions openly, not behind the scenes. If there's a complaint, there's a legitimate complaint process and someone's willing to provide their information to us in private when they have the surgery, all the data, so that we can then reach out to the physician they're complaining about, whether they're an [IAHRS 00:01:37] member or non-IAHRS member. Then, that complaint stays live as long as it sticks to the fact and you're not defaming someone and you're not libeling someone.

Joe Tillman: Or embellishing the situation in general.

Spencer Kobren: Exactly. Just stick to the factS. This is my complaint and then allow the physician or clinic to make their statement, allow for another statement from the patient and then another statement from the clinic. Then, it's a way to adjudicate publicly, also allow for other people to see what transpired in case they're considering surgery with this doctor, see how it was handled by the physician. There's so much more value to that and just seeing how things were handled, why things may have occurred, how the physician responds, than to read post after post after post about hearsay from anonymous users on a message forum, and then moderators coming out and then who God knows-

Joe Tillman: Giving their opinion.

Spencer Kobren: Yeah, giving their opinion, which is a huge no-no on any internet forum. Moderators should be there to moderate the fuckin forum. That is it. If they have to interject by making some sort of statement about the terms of service or the rules of posting, that's fine, but to make any commentary about physicians or anyone who's part of their forum, in my view, is not only reckless, but it's completely unprofessional.

Joe Tillman: Well, it's also extending the ... What was the term you used earlier? The control mechanism.

Spencer Kobren:  Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Joe Tillman: It's extending the reach of the control mechanism by guiding the conversation, by directing the conversation.

Spencer Kobren: Absolutely.

Joe Tillman: To someone's benefit, whomever that may be, and that's not the role of a moderator. The role of a moderator is to make sure that all the posts and participation adheres to the terms of service.

Spencer Kobren: That's it.


Find A Surgeon

The International Alliance of Hair Restoration Surgeons is a consumer organization that selectively screens skilled and ethical hair transplant surgeons. The IAHRS does not offer an open membership policy to doctors practicing hair transplatation, and is the only group that recognizes that all surgeons are not equal in their skill and technique. Its elite membership seeks to represent the best in the discipline, the true leaders in the field of surgical hair restoration.