Like many websites that sprung up during and after the Web 2.0 revolution, Cheatercollege.com or Cheater College, is a web site that is powered by user-generated content. In fact, aside from the site layout, branding, and navigation text, it appears that Cheater College may only contain user-generated content. As the name of the site states, the information reported on this site is concerned with allegedly unfaithful boyfriends, girlfriends and other romantically attached individuals at colleges and universities across the nation. The site claims to provide a platform for “Reporting Cheaters From Every College and University.”
However, after a difficult break-up, an argument between former friends, or a perceived social slight an individual may be shocked and horrified to find false and untrue claims posted on cheatercollege.com. Perhaps the claims are merely rumors that someone perceived as truth and posted online for the world to see. Alternatively, perhaps the irrationality and anger of a rejected romantic interest or a jealous rival motivated an individual to post false and defamatory claims about the romantic activities of another person.
If you have been targeted for online abuse through false and defamatory online postings, the Internet defamation removal attorneys of Meyers Roman Friedberg & Lewis, LPA can work to get the offending content removed from sites like Cheatercollege.com. We guarantee the removal of the content or we will refund your fee. To schedule a free and confidential consultation with an experienced online defamation removal attorney call (216) 831-0042 today.
To start, let us consider the effects on individuals likely to use the site to post reports. The lack of any terms of service or guidelines means that potential users of the site are not put on notice regarding proper or improper uses. This issue is further compounded by the lack of a registration requirement. Thus the potential for abuse by a malicious individual who wishes to use the site for their own purposes is increased by both a lack of clear guidelines for conduct and a sense of anonymity that a registration-free website can provide. While it is true that the site does request an email address, most web users can generate a “throwaway account” in a matter of minutes.
The issues, however, are not limited to the user-generated content side of the website. While most websites post content removal policies, Cheater College does not. It is not clear how responsive Cheater College is to posts containing personal attacks, copyrighted materials, revenge porn, and other malicious acts. The problems on both the submission and enforcement side may make this site a more likely destination for online abusers and their defamatory speech.
Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act provides broad protections to websites hosting user-generated content. While this safe harbor for websites provided the basis for the growth of user-generated and social media platforms, it can create some difficulties for defamed individuals. Furthermore, defamed individuals must be careful to avoid bringing legal action for the defamation against the site directly because it is likely to result in a counterclaim.
Luckily, many sites will comply voluntarily with requests for removal or court orders to remove defamatory content. Furthermore, the individual who made the post and is responsible for the defamatory content can be held personally accountable for the damages caused by their malicious conduct. An experienced defamation lawyer can take legal steps to unmask the identity of an anonymous abuser through a John or Jane Doe lawsuit or through other means.
If you have been defamed or attacked with false and malicious claims on a website like CheaterCollege.com, the resulting stress and anxiety can cause an array of impacts including missed classes, poor exam scores, and a sense that you are not part of the campus community. To schedule a free and confidential consultation to discuss your removal options and further action you can take against the individual, call the Internet defamation removal attorneys of Meyers Roman Friedberg & Lewis, LPA today at (216) 831-0042 to schedule a free and confidential consultation.