I’m not sure what JuicyCampus founder Matt Ivester expected when he launched a gossip site for college students, but apparently things are getting out of hand. People, who can post anonymously, are being “mean.” And despite some legal protections, Ivester might be getting a little nervous about defamation and libel lawsuits.
In a blog post on Friday, he says “Some of the things that have been posted have been mean-spirited, and we have received emails from people claiming to have been defamed on the site,” and adds “We want you to make JuicyCampus Juicy, not hateful.”
He’s also quick to point out that he’s not liable for anything said on the site: “Please be advised that Juicy Campus is not the author of the posts that appear on the site. Rather, Juicy Campus is the provider of an interactive computer service. As such, pursuant to 47 U.S.C. Section 230, Juicy Campus is immune from liability arising from content posted by users.”
As users, posting anonymously, accuse others of being child molesters and debate who is the sluttiest girl in school, page views will likely rise. But Matt will be dealing with a nearly constant barrage of legal threats from quite-rightly angry students and parents. Appeals to simply be nice won’t do anything to stop it. And those legal protections may not be as bullet proof as he thinks. The whole thing may fall apart when the daughter of the wrong politician gets attacked.
Philip Kaplan dealt with almost exactly the same issues with FuckedCompany back in 2000-2001. Matt, you may want to give him a call, and ask for a referral to a good attorney.