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In some research I did last year, I investigated the question, when is a website liable for content it hosts that it’s users create? I found that while Section 230 of the CDA allows for general protection for websites, occasionally a website can be held liable. If a website forces a user to supply them with information that could be unlawful, they can be held liable. Additionally, if the website alters, or adds to illegal content, it can be liable. Stubhub, for instance, has lost Section 230 immunity a few times, when they hosted tickets that did not allow for resale. By just creating an event page for the event that forbid resales, the courts have considered this as a contribution to the content.

Something to consider for website hosting. Don’t ask people directly for illegal information. If you do, you could be held liable for that illegal information. If you’d like to read the whole paper, download it here. For those of you who are more visually inclined, check the presentation I gave 6 months ago at AEJMC below.

Download the full paper here

  Posts

October 11th, 2015

Socioeconomic Status, Social Capital, and Partisan Polarity as Predictors of Political Incivility on Twitter

This paper came about when my clever colleague Toby Hopp asked me about a dataset I had collected. It was on the […]

March 31st, 2014

Network Issue Agendas on Twitter during the 2012 U.S. Presidential Election

I’ve been working on agenda-setting research now for 5 years. Still, I am incredibly humbled to be on a journal […]

April 4th, 2013

A Social Network Analysis of “Social Media” Articles in Academic Journals

My Ph.D. advisor Dr. Joe Bob Hester came to me with a question: how do academic articles on the broad […]

March 3rd, 2013

How many followers do people and news media have on Twitter?

Part of the research I do here at UNC looks at how people and the news media react to each […]

November 27th, 2012

LibLinear Algorithm & Twitter

As more and more social scientists employ algorithms to try and “code” or “annotate” large datasets, the question of which […]

November 26th, 2012

The Top Congressmen on Twitter

A colleague here at UNC asked me the other day if I could scrape the follower counts of the 500+ congressmen who […]

November 12th, 2012

Agenda-Setting, Ideologies & Twitter: How “Moderate Mitt” was a huge mistake for Newt Gingrich

Continuing with my agenda-setting research stream, I decided to look at the GOP primaries this year, and more specifically the […]

November 12th, 2012

When is a website liable for User Generated Content?

In some research I did last year, I investigated the question, when is a website liable for content it hosts […]

November 11th, 2012

Does Agenda-Setting Theory Still Apply to Social Media & Social Networking?

In what was my first agenda-setting study, I took a look at social media/social networking site Twitter, and investigated the […]