Gossip website causes firestorm

If you haven't heard, there are a few websites that have sprung up that allow users to post gossip about other people anonymously. I am not going to post the link to, or the name of the website, but there is one in particular that is especially vicious.

The website operators get away with this because they have called themselves "internet service providers," and not the slime they are, and have hid behind section 230 of the Communications Decency Act (CDA) claiming they cannot be responsible for other people's posts on their website.

I believe the original intent for this law was to protect the actual network operators, not these website operators like Elizabeth Bloch (the website in question is listed on LinkedIn via the previous link...I'm not giving this "person" free advertising). I believe it's time to elaborate on what a service provider is, and what it isn't.

While listening to the Dori Monson show, I heard Elizabeth Bloch on that show speaking as a representative for this website. Dori would not mention the website, but of course she did several times, and I belive this was the same woman I saw on Dr. Phil a month or so ago, who made a complete fool out of herself and the trash she was promoting.

She must be an over achiever because, after claiming that it wasn't up to her or the website operators to decide whether something was good or bad, Dori asked her if "A post about a 14 year old girl, that included her name, and claimed she liked having a*%l sex" was seriously ok in her mind, she claimed that this was subjective.

She definetly topped her performance on Dr. Phil. Exactly what is subjective about that? In what legal universe would that be considered ok? None. When is it ok to post a picture, the full name of someone provide any type of information about them, either true or false?

This website was featured in the Everett Herald as there are two students at a local school who have been harassed to such a degree they are afraid to go to school. The conduct displayed by the students on this website has been so bad, that the school has sent a notification to parents informing them of this website.

From the article:

"'If it's not a lie, there has to be some sort of accountability in that person's life,' Bloch said."

"'We've given people a forum to say what they want to say," said Elizabeth Bloch, 25, one of the founders of the company that runs the Web site. "It's not up for us to censor them. If a user thinks some piece of information -- however nasty or ... embarrassing, is true -- that's their prerogative to let the world know about it.'"

The article goes on to say how people post fake profiles of others, ridicule their families, their perfomance in bed, calling names and making fun of physical handicaps.

Exactly what kind of public accountability is needed here? Where, in what moral or ethical code or law does it say people's shortcomings or other people's perceptions about us need to be aired on such a public forum? Even if someone is accused of a crime which could require some sort of public accountability, you still cannot say they did it on any medium.

It may not be up to them to censor them, but I believe it is because this website is providing the tool used to break the law, plain and simply. These kids are using a website provided by this company to harass, slander and assassinate the character of people known and unknown in a manner to which these children cannot be caught due to the inaction of the website operators and I believe this company should be held responsible. The information posted on this website and others like it is not innocent and can possibly do real harm.

If I rented a bill board and made a nice little photo spread with Elizabeth's full name and some nasty rumors, or aired a television commercial about her, it would be NO different and I could get sued, as well as the station or the billboard owner if they didn't comply with taking the information down. Why should this situation be any different?

So what if users started posting child pornography? Would she be ok with that? Would that be subjective as well for her? Is that still not up to her to decide? If this were virtually any other medium, she and the poster could be held liable. In fact any other medium would verify the poster's identity. This website should not be able to refuse to verify the poster's identity, then hide behind the fact the poster is anonymous.

This woman claimed the website was a good way to get the truth out there because users can rate the posts on the website. And we all know how teenagers, especially gossips, guide the vessel of their lives by the light of truth. Please.... But just look at the caliber of people who started this website.

Please do everything you can to shut this website, and any other website that allows or encourages this type of socially irresponsible behavior, down.

By the way, this website is currently hosted at http://www.i40hosting.com/ . Please go to their website, click on the contact link, and let them know that the gossip website they host is very inappropriate and that you wouldn't want to be associated with a website like that.