The Internet is a global platform that provides each individual who connects to it with not only a window to the world, but also a platform to publish thought, ideas, and impressions broadly to people across the globe. Many people use this power to keep in touch with friends and families over social networks. Others may use this ability to comment on political and current events. Still others may use this platform to warn others about perceived scams, rip-offs, and bad faith dealings by businesses and individuals. However, sometimes posts warning of scams cross the line from merely reporting facts to opinions, personal insults, and other types of defamation.
Scam.com, while a user-content generated website, is actually something of a throwback to the late 1990s and early 2000s during the golden age of the web forum. Unlike many other user generated content portals on the Internet, Scam.com has stuck with the venerable Vbulletin board that harkens back to the old, wild days of the Internet.
Unfortunately, the anything goes approach of the fledging Internet presents serious problems from individuals who have been defamed or falsely attacked online. If you have been targeted by online defamation, the Internet defamation removal attorneys of Meyers Roman Friedberg & Lewis, LPA, can fight to remove the post and protect your reputation. We guarantee the removal of the offending post or you will receive you money back. To schedule a free, confidential initial consultation call Meyers Roman Friedberg & Lewis, LPA at (216) 831-0042 or contact us online.
Scam.com is a vBulletin message board. This means that there are a number of forums set up for users to discuss certain topics. Since the main focus of Scam.com seems to be identifying a wide range of rip-offs and other wrongful actions, most of the forums focus on topics of this nature. Aside from popular forums for general chat, political chat, and conspiracy theories the topics addressed by Scam.com include:
Many of the posters on this site are legitimately looking for information regarding offers they have received. However, many other users seem to use the site as a platform to grind their own axe and attack people and businesses for their own reasons. Unfortunately, many of the decisions regarding the approach to and architecture of the site may encourage this type of misuse of the platform.
As a user-generated content platform, Scam.com receives broad protection from Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act. The site’s TOS states:
Although the administrators and moderators of scams will attempt to keep all objectionable messages off this site, it is impossible for us to review all messages. All messages express the views of the author, and neither the owners of scams, nor vBulletin Solutions, Inc. (developers of vBulletin) will be held responsible for the content of any message.
While the law may provide safe harbor to the site, it does not protect the individual users who choose to post false, baseless, and defamatory attacks against another person.
Unfortunately, the design of Scam.com seems to harken back to a simpler time on the Internet when Anonymous pseudonyms were the rule – and perhaps the only one online. The site only allows users to register by making up an anonymous handle, also known as a username. Furthermore, while the site does request an e-mail address, it does not appear that the address is used for verification purposes. In any case, most savvy Internet users can generate a “throwaway” e-mail rather quickly.
Furthermore, the policies of the site do not seem to be particularly well-developed. Most of the content appearing in the FAQ section for the website appears to be stock copy for any vBulletin installation. Under the site’s “Dealing with Troublesome Users” section, information regarding the ability to block a user’s posts is provided. However, blocking in this fashion will only hide it from the single user – it will not remove the content from the Internet. Furthermore, the site does offer the option to report a post, but it is not clear if any guidelines for removals exists beyond this statement:
“You will find ‘Report’ links in many places throughout the board. These links allow you to alert the board staff to anything which you find to be offensive, objectionable or illegal.”
Furthermore, the site does not seem to set forth any timeframe or other specific policies for particularly harmful content like revenge porn, photos taken while the subject was a minor, or claims that the individual may have a communicable disease or STD.
Scam.com is reminiscent of the freewheeling days of a still immature Internet. If you have been targeted by online defamation on Scam.com, the Internet defamation removal attorneys of Meyers Roman Friedberg & Lewis, LPA, can pursue a number of strategies to remove the objectionable or illegal content. We can work with sites like Scam.com or pursue additional options to seek removal. To schedule a free and confidential Internet Defamation removal consultation call our firm at (216) 831-0042 or contact us online.