Consumer Law

Another State AG Probes JuicyCampus Gossip Website

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Updated: The attorney general of Connecticut is following the lead of his New Jersey counterpart and has launched an unusual investigation of an anonymous campus gossip website on a cutting-edge consumer legal theory. And a California lawmaker is suggesting a similar investigation by the AG in his home state.

Richard Blumenthal, the attorney general for Connecticut, now is investigating, based on concerns that the website, which specializes in malicious—and, critics say, harmful—gossip is violating its own terms of use, reports the Yale Daily News.

Specifically, the AG is “investigating whether JuicyCampus misleads consumers by failing to follow its own rules prohibiting defamatory and abusive posts,” the Yale University campus newspaper explains. JuicyCampus terms and conditions prohibit comments that are “unlawful, threatening, abusive, tortious, defamatory, obscene, libelous, or invasive.”

As discussed in an earlier post, the New Jersey attorney general and the state’s Division of Consumer Affairs have previously launched a similar probe of the JuicyCampus site. Attorney General Anne Milgram says New Jersey began its investigation after hearing that a student was being “terrorized” by anonymous postings on the site.

Meanwhile, a California lawmaker, Assemblyman Alberto Torrico (D-Fremont) also cited the JuicyCampus site in calling for an investigation by his state’s attorney general, Jerry Brown, reports the San Jose Mercury News.

Describing JuicyCampus in a written statement as a “dangerous campus gossip Web site that may be spreading libelous information, propagating hate speech, and endangering the safety of women on campuses across the state,” Torrico called on the AG in a letter to “aggressively investigate these businesses for possible violations of state civil rights and consumer protection laws in the process of publishing and promoting these egregious and outrageous Web sites.”

He also suggested that unspecified new state laws may be needed.

Brown did not immediately respond, and JuicyCampus has not substantively responded to efforts by the newspapers to seek comment.

Additional coverage:

San Francisco Chronicle: “Tawdry, not juicy”

Mercury News (San Jose): “Tech File: JuicyCampus is a haven for cyberbullies”

Courier-Post (South Jersey): “State AG doing nothing on corruption”

Hartford Courant: “Juicy: Not So Juicy”

United Press International: “Columbia University no longer ‘juicy’ “

Updated at 10:30 p.m., central time, to add information about California and additional coverage.

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