Tuesday, November 11, 2008

A Juicy Story

For those of you not aware, JuicyCampus.com is a site, founded a year ago, where anyone can anonymously post rumors and gossip about others on their individual school's subpage. As you can imagine, this had led to some controversy.

Here in New Jersey, Attorney General Anne Milgram has told all university presidents that they must take an active role in preventing "cyber bullying," after her office filed a subpoena for investigation in March stating that "postings on JuicyCampus.com include uncomplimentary references to the physical characteristics, race, ethnicity and implied sexual experiences of students. The site's User Conduct Terms require posters to agree that they will not post content that is abusive, obscene or invasive of another's privacy. JuicyCampus.com tells the public that this offensive content may be removed, but the site apparently lacks tools to report or dispute this material."

JuicyCampus is, however, protected in part by the First Amendment and the Communications Decency Act of 1996, which states that "no provider or user of an interactive computer service shall be treated as the publisher or speaker of any information provided by another information content provider," essentially easing responsibility of websites for the posts of third parties.

FIRE has written a response to Milgram, citing the case of DeJohn vs. Temple University and "[B]ullying is not a defined legal term of art... There is a difference–qualitatively, and constitutionally–between speech that threatens versus that which merely causes hurt feelings.

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