Connecticut Attorney General's Office
Attorney General Announces Topix.Com Agreement That Stops “Pay-To-Police” Policy
August 9, 2010
Attorney General Richard Blumenthal, joined by 31 other state attorneys general, today announced an agreement with Topix.com to improve consumer protections and eliminate a $19.99 fee to expedite review of abusive or inappropriate posts.
All reports of abuse on Topix, an Internet message board host, will be reviewed free of charge, and the site will make improvements -- both in technical and human resources -- in order to better review and block inappropriate posts.
Topix has also agreed to review all posts that are “flagged” for review, rather than require multiple users to report a post before it’s reviewed. The site will also seek to review and remove inappropriate posts within three working days -- rather than seven to 14 days, as previously done.
The company agreed to these and other reforms after Blumenthal and Kentucky Attorney General Jack Conway first contacted Topix in February with their concerns.
“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.
“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.”
Topix has also agreed to:
- Continue cooperating with law enforcement agencies in combating unlawful activity on its website;
- Consult with the attorneys general to discuss issues of concern, including responsiveness to abuse reports and other consumer complaints; and
- Continue to explore new technology and processes for preventing misuse of its site.
Topix.com, of Palo Alto, CA, describes itself as a “top ten online newspaper destination,” which encourages readers to post comments about news items or other matters of community interest.
The attorneys general from the following states and jurisdictions have joined Connecticut: Arkansas, Arizona, Colorado, Florida, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, North Dakota, New Hampshire, New Mexico, Ohio, Oklahoma, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Tennessee, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington and West Virginia.