This is charming, from Prof. Simon Marginson (Melbourne), a leading critic of the QS rankings:
I have not received any legal threats from QS, happily, though I will be sure to publish them if I do. (My guess is they realize that, even under UK libel law, they don't have a case, and, in any case, no British libel judgment would be enforceable in the U.S.)
The THE [Times Higher Education, which also produces rankings] is committed to a free and liberal discussion about ranking, and tolerates differences of opinion. The same has not been true of QS. [Ben] Sowter [of QS] does not mention that his company has twice threatened publications with legal action when publishing my bona fide criticisms of QS. One was The Australian: in that case QS prevented my criticisms from being aired. The other case was University World News, which refused to pull my remarks from its website when threatened by QS with legal action.
If Sowter and QS would address the points of criticism of their ranking and their infamous star system (best described as 'rent a reputation'), rather than attacking their critics, we might all be able to progress towards better rankings. That is my sole goal in this matter. As long as the QS ranking remains deficient in terms of social science, I will continue to criticise it, and I expect others will also continue to do so.