If someone posts an abusive or inappropriate comment on a Web site, it’s likely that fewer people will see it after several attorneys general went after a giant in Internet message boards.
Topix, a host responsible for the commenting function on many Web sites, has agreed to change its policies after Connecticut’s Attorney General Richard Blumenthal and 31 other attorney generals went after the company over policies for pulling down comments.
Topix.com will eliminate the $19.99 fee it charged to expedite review of the posts, Blumenthal said.
“Our agreement eliminates a pay-to-police policy that Topix ultimately realized was unfair to victims of abusive posts,” Blumenthal said. “Stopping harassment should be a right -- not a paid service -- and I applaud Topix for recognizing its responsibility to respond to such reports.”
The company also said it will review all posts that are “flagged” for review, rather than waiting for multiple users to report a post before it’s reviewed.
Before the attorneys general got involved in Topix policy, the company sought to “review and remove” posts within seven to 14 days. Now, the company said it will shorten that timeframe to “within three working days.”
“Online abuse and harassment will be addressed more promptly and free of charge, and illegal activity reported to law enforcement. Our coalition of states will continue to monitor the site to ensure that reports of abusive and harmful posts are handled appropriately,” Blumenthal said.
The attorneys general plan to continue to be involved and discuss with attorneys general issues of concern, including responsiveness to abuse reports and other consumer complaints.