Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Can Backpage really use Section 230 even as applied today?

The Washington Post has a scathing story by Tom Jackman and Jonathan O’Connell, on Tuesday, July 11, 2017, concerning Backpage and its claim of protections under Section 230 of the 1996 Telecommunications Act, link here.

The story claims that Backpage used a company in the Philippines to come up with content that could take consumers away from competing sites.  The scheme presented in the article was quite complicated. When pressured later, Backpage reportedly stopped running sex ads.

Offhand, given the truth of the Post story, Section 230 might not apply as a defense in some of the litigation.  The fact pattern will be important because many people want to gut Section 230, seeing user-generated content as gratuitous and not actually generating any real wealth.

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