RICHMOND (August 9, 2010) – Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli today joined the attorneys general from 33 states in reaching an agreement with Internet message board host Topix.com to eliminate a $19.99 fee to expedite review of abusive or inappropriate posts. The agreement is the result of an initiative to improve consumer protections on the website.
“Targets of false or harassing posts were being victimized a second time by being charged a removal fee for having the site take those posts down. I am pleased that we have been able to reach an agreement with Topix to end the fee to expedite the removal of abusive posts,” Cuccinelli said.
As part of the settlement, all reports of abuse on Topix will be reviewed free of charge. The company will also seek to review and remove inappropriate posts within three working days, rather than its previous policy of seven to 14 days. Additionally, Topix has removed the “flagging” option for reporting abusive posts. The option was ineffective and confusing for consumers as it required multiple users to “flag” a post before it was reviewed. As a result, many inappropriate posts consumers thought they had reported were never reviewed.
Topix has also agreed to make technical and human resources improvements to better review and block inappropriate posts, as well as to consult on an as-needed basis with the attorneys general to discuss issues of concern, including responsiveness to abuse reports and other consumer complaints.
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.