In 2014, a hotel in upstate New York went viral for all the wrong reasons. It had a stated policy of charging couples who booked weddings at the venue $500 for any negative reviews left by their guests. When the hotel tried to enforce the policy, more than 3,000 1-star reviews poured in from all over the country. That was an extreme response, but such “gag” clauses, buried in vacation-home contracts and other user agreements, were becoming increasingly common — until Congress stepped in. In December 2016, lawmakers passed the Consumer Review Fairness Act, which blocks businesses from inserting sweeping language into agreements that punishes consumers or threatens them with legal action for leaving a negative online review.