There’s a new breed of gossip website, coming to a campus near you. The site is called Juicy Campus, and it involves students posting gossip about each other at particular college campuses.
As Jessica Bennett writes at Newsweek:
JuicyCampus.com is a rapidly growing gossip site that solicits content with the promise of anonymity. But what began as fun and games—and now has spinoffs on seven college campuses, including Duke University, where it began—has turned ugly and, in many cases, flatly defamatory. The posts have devolved from innocuous tales of secret crushes to racist tirades and lurid finger-pointing about drug use and sex, often with the alleged culprit identified by first and last name.
Some sample recent post titles include:
* most overrated person at duke
* Whos Hot Whos Not.
* hottest freshman girl
* cutest non slutty sorority girl?
* Best BlowJ
* HOTTEST ASIAN SORORITY CHICK
* Dumbest Duke Student?
* GUYS WITH STDS!
The post titles above are followed by brief posts along with discussion threads containing comments of others. There are many posts about specific individuals, and the comments are crude, foul, and too explicit and offensive to reproduce here. Let’s say this — it makes AutoAdmit look somewhat tame by comparison.
I’m quoted in the Newsweek story, noting that if the law doesn’t change, sites like Juicy Campus will continue on with impunity. That’s because of the Communications Decency Act (CDA) § 230, which immunizes such sites for content posted by others. As I explained in my book, The Future of Reputation: Gossip, Rumor, and Privacy on the Internet:
Unfortunately, courts are interpreting Section 230 so broadly as to provide too much immunity, eliminating the incentive to foster a balance between speech and privacy. The way courts are using Section 230 exalts free speech to the detriment of privacy and reputation. As a result, a host of websites have arisen that encourage others to post gossip and rumors as well as to engage in online shaming. These websites thrive under Section 230’s broad immunity.
Juicy Campus is one of those sites that flaunts its § 230 immunity. From the FAQs:
Is the site really anonymous?
Yes. There is no way for someone using the site to find out who you are. And we at JuicyCampus are not keeping track of who you are or what you post. In fact, we prefer not to know who you are. We like to think that famous people like Justin Timberlake and Beyonce are using our site. We love them…
How do I remove a comment I posted?
You can’t. Once it’s out there. It’s out there. So be careful what you say…
* It is not possible for anyone to use this website to find out who you are or where you are located
* We do not collect any information directly from you. You’ve never given us your name or email address, and we don’t want it. . . .
* Servers do, as a matter of course, keep logs. This includes geographic information and ip addresses.
— If you are particularly concerned about hiding your ip address, there are several services that offer free ip-cloaking. Just do a quick search on Google and find one you like…
— Note: All that an ip address means is that you (or someone using your connection) were on the site. The logs do not associate ip addresses with specific posts.
JuicyCampus is currently at 7 college campuses: College of Charleston, Duke, LMU, Pepperdine, UCLA, UNC, and USC.
Originally Posted at Concurring Opinions
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This post was authored by Professor Daniel J. Solove, who through TeachPrivacy develops computer-based privacy training, data security training, HIPAA training, and many other forms of awareness training on privacy and security topics. Professor Solove also posts at his blog at LinkedIn. His blog has more than 1 million followers.