Posted Mar 19, 2008 09:26 pm CDT
In what may be the first such investigation in the nation, prosecutors in New Jersey reportedly are investigating a controversial no-holds-barred college campus gossip website for possible consumer law violations.
The state’s attorney general and Division of Consumer Affairs have subpoenaed the website owner and advertisers, seeking information about how JuicyCampus decides to focus on a particular college, confirms users’ ages and deals with complaints, according to the Star-Ledger, a Newark, N.J., newspaper.
“Misrepresentation to the public by businesses violates our Consumer Fraud Act,” says Attorney General Anne Milgram. “JuicyCampus.com must honor the terms and conditions that it informs the public it will adhere to.” She says the state began its investigation after hearing that a student was being “terrorized” by anonymous postings on the site.
The posts included the student’s home address, according to the Associated Press, and prosecutors investigating the site have apparently cited “unconscionable commercial practices” in their subpoenas.
The 1-year-old website with the motto “Always anonymous … Always juicy,” has drawn fire for for allowing users to ask questions like “Who’s the sluttiest girl on campus?,” to which others post answers, the Star-Ledger notes. Students at a number of campuses reportedly have called for their peers to boycott JuicyCampus because of its claimed harassing and inaccurate posts.
“Language on the site ranges from catty to hateful and offensive. One thread, for example, on the ‘most overrated Princeton student’ quickly dissolves into name-calling, homophobia and anti-Semitism,” AP reports.
Lime Blue in Reno, Nev., owns JuicyCampus. The company didn’t respond to e-mailed requests for comment from the newspaper yesterday.