Today in class Keegan brought up a microdiscussion about Juicy Campus*, a website that allows anonymous posters to talk trash about their friends, their classmates, their teachers online. One aspect of the discussion involved whether or not the posts on this gossip site constitute speech protected by the first amendment.
But even if the posts weren't protected, who could you sue? Further: Who can be called to task when an anonymous source libels someone online? And for that reason, what constitutes libel online? Does the First Amendments offer blogs the same protection as, say, The New York Times? Should it?
We've addressed these issues previously, here and here, among other places. But more to the case at hand, the following article from CNN might provide if not an answer, at least food for thought. Among other things, the piece reports:
"Juicy Campus and similar Web sites are protected under Communications Decency Act of 1996. The Act aims to shield Web publishers from liability for libelous comments posted by third parties. The section states "no provider or user of an interactive computer service shall be treated as the publisher or speaker of any information provided by another information content provider."
* the lack of a link to juicy campus is wholly intentional on my part.