Dark versus light. Good versus evil. Positive versus negative. The battle between opposing forces has most recently been highlighted by the latest Star Wars movie release, but applying polarized judgments to real life is hard.

Things are rarely as clear-cut as good fighting against evil.

Moreover, there's often value in understanding the differences between dark and light, and the nuances behind a positive or negative opinion. And that's why preserving the right to voice such judgments is important.

The provisions of the proposed Consumer Review Freedom Act for online reviews are a step in the right direction.

Passed by the Senate on Dec. 14, 2015 and pending approval by Congress, the current bill includes...

  • A nationwide ban on the use of "anti-review," "gag," or "non-disparagement" clauses
  • Empowerment of the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and states to take action against businesses that attempt to keep consumers from posting negative reviews

So, what does all this mean for businesses?

1. Freedom of speech in online reviews

The new legislation will preserve consumers' freedom to post their honest opinions online, whether those opinions are negative, positive, or a mix of both.

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Jonathan Hinz is director of product marketing at NewsCred, a provider of content marketing software.

LinkedIn: Jonathan Hinz

Twitter: @jonathanhinz