The AP reports:
New Jersey prosecutors have subpoenaed records of JuicyCampus.com, a Web site that publishes anonymous, often malicious gossip about college students.
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.
JuicyCampus may be violating the state's Consumer Fraud Act by suggesting that it doesn't allow offensive material but providing no enforcement of that rule -- and no way for users to report or dispute the material, New Jersey Attorney General Anne Milgram said Tuesday....
The attorney general has also subpoenaed the Web site's advertising agency, Adbrite, to determine how JuicyCampus represented its operation and what advertising keywords the site requested....
Can anyone tell me, please, just what JuicyCampus has been saying that is supposedly a misrepresentation?
I agree that speakers and service providers are bound by their contracts, including contracts not to say or host certain things. They may also in some situations be bound by explicit promises they make in their advertising. But it would obviously be dangerous to have them be liable for broadly "suggesting" certain things. Imagine a state Attorney General prosecuting the New York Times for "suggesting that it" is fair and accurate, and investigating whether they've defrauded consumers because of supposed bias and error. (No, seriously, that sort of prosecution would be bad.)
Likewise, imagine an attorney general going after us for "suggesting" with our comment policy that we'd delete offensive comments, but then not doing a good enough job of deleting them. Of course, we don't say we'll delete offensive comments (we try to discourage such comments, and we may delete them, but we never say we will), but who knows what someone might think we suggest? So can anyone report on what exactly JuicyCampus said that might have been false or misleading?
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