Ripoff Report’s Latest Section 230 Win–Seldon v. Magedson

It’s been a while since I blogged a Ripoff Report case. I’m sure you’ve missed hearing about them, but their litigation docket has calmed down somewhat since their heyday.

This pro se lawsuit, rehashing tired arguments that have failed repeatedly over the past decade, adds nothing to the canon. On the claim of defamation based on third party reports submitted to Ripoff Report, Seldon alleges:

that third parties submitted defamatory information about him to the website, and that Xcentric participated in the defamation by creating the file heading “philip-seldon | Ripoff Report | Complaints Reviews Scams Lawsuits Frauds Reported,” which introduced the defamatory statements.

Seldon further alleged:

ripoffreport.com has a staff of reviewers who intercept and review each and every report submitted to its website and decide whether or not to permit the report to be included on the website and whether or not to post the report as submitted or to modify it by redacting content or modifying the content which they do for numerous postings

Photo credit: Easy job online // ShutterStock

Photo credit: Easy job online // ShutterStock

These allegations make the judge’s job really easy. Citing Roommates.com for the defense (a surprisingly common phenomenon as I hope to report soon), the court says that screening content is immunized by Section 230. With respect to the other allegations, citing Carafano, the court concludes:

The fact that Xcentric facilitated defamation in some attenuated way by providing software that automatically published and filed a third party’s statements does not undercut Xcentric’s claim to immunity under the CDA. Xcentric is not responsible for the alleged defamatory statements of third parties just because Xcentric provides a forum where third parties might mischaracterize Plaintiff’s conduct. Xcentric is not the “information content provider” with respect to the defamatory statements because it neither produced nor endorsed any of the content of the defamatory posts.

Case citation: Seldon v. Magedson, 2014 WL 1456316 (D. Ariz. April 15, 2014). The complaint.

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