Once Again: Do Not Send Legal Threats To Companies Because You Don't Like What A User Says
from the both-according-to-the-law-and-common-sense dept
It’s getting to be rather silly how many times we’ve posted about section 230 of the CDA, which protects websites from the actions of their users — but it seems that there’s no shortage of folks with quick legal trigger fingers, who figure that anything they dislike online must be illegal, and they can blame the site that hosted it. The latest example, sent in by an anonymous reader, is that 800Notes, one of many websites that allows users to post notes on random callers (telemarketers and such) discovered that the owner of one company, mynutritionstore, whose phone number was listed on the site sent an angry threat demanding it be taken down, because someone had a negative experience with the company. When 800Notes told the owner of mynutritionstore that it would not remove the negative reviews, he apparently threatened to sue 800Notes. Public Citizen stepped in and sent him a quick legal lesson on the safe harbors provided by the CDA, how anti-SLAPP laws work and also pointed out that his claim that the posts were defamatory is clearly shown to be untrue by the fact that the same demand for a takedown claims that the content is proprietary to mynutrtionstore. If it’s proprietary than that would indicate that it’s truthful, not defamatory. It’s not libel if it’s the truth.
So, once again, just because you dislike what someone has to say about you online, it doesn’t mean that it’s illegal. Also, threatening to sue the service provider for content you dislike generated by users is bound to backfire — often badly. Hopefully, more people will learn this, and we’ll stop seeing these sorts of threats.