JuicyCampus on ‘Absurd’ AG Probes: We Don’t Have to Enforce Our Rules
Posted Mar 27, 2008 2:14 PM CDT
By Martha Neil
An anonymous campus gossip website that is now the subject of at least two state attorney general investigations has responded to claims that it may have violated its own terms and conditions by providing a bulletin board for allegedly malicious, defamatory and potentially harmful posts.
The site has violated no laws and is protected under unspecified federal law from being held liable for the posts of others, JuicyCampus writes in an unsigned post on its "official" blog that discusses the "absurd" investigations. Additionally, "JuicyCampus cannot be held liable for the manner in which it enforces its terms and conditions, or by failing do so in accordance with undefined standards that the state or federal government would like to impose," the post contends.
"Although it does not state specifically why the site is immune to liability laws, it's likely that JuicyCampus is referring to parts of the Communications Decency Act that protect service providers. Section 230 of the CDA, among other things, says that the provider of an 'interactive computer service' is immune from liability when it comes to content posted by users—lawful or not," the ars technica blog writes. "This law has been used to successfully defend sites from being liable for all manner of Internet speech posted by their users. This includes users reposting defamatory statements made by others, sites not being responsible for the pedophilic tendencies of their users, and others not being liable for illegal housing ads."
At this point, notes the Chronicle of Higher Education in another article about JuicyCampus, "The site is weighing its legal options, but called on its users to complain to state officials about their behavior."
As discussed in earlier ABAJournal.com posts, the attorneys general of Connecticut and New Jersey are investigating JuicyCampus, reportedly under a theory that it may have violated state consumer laws by misrepresenting in its terms and conditions what the site actually does.
CBS News: "Does JuicyCampus Go Too Far?"
Yale Daily News: "Online-culture trends feed gossip leviathan"
The Star Ledger (Newark, N.J.): "Gossip website says AG is violating free speech rights"