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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
August 09, 2010
Topix.com agrees to nix “pay-to-police” abuse policy

Attorney General McKenna announces agreement to protect kids online 

SEATTLE – Washington Attorney General Rob McKenna and 33 other attorneys general reached an agreement with Internet message board host Topix.com to improve consumer protections and eliminate the $19.99 fee to expedite review of abusive or inappropriate posts.

“Sticks and stones may break your bones, but cyberbullying hurts, too,” McKenna said. “That’s why we’ve reached an agreement with Topix to help protect kids from harassing and abusive posts.”

Topix.com, of Palo Alto, Calif., describes itself as a “Top 10 online newspaper destination” that encourages readers to post comments about news items or other matters of community interest. The site averages 125,000 user-generated posts per day.

As part of the settlement, all reports of abuse on Topix will be reviewed free of charge and the company will remove inappropriate posts within three working days rather than its previous policy of seven to 14 days. Additionally, Topix has dropped a requirement that multiple users must “flag” a post before it is reviewed. 

Topix has also agreed to:

  • Continue cooperating with law enforcement agencies in combating unlawful activity on its Web site,
  • Consult with the attorneys general to discuss issues of concern, including responsiveness to tracking reports of abusive posts and other consumer complaints,
  • Continue to explore new technology and processes for preventing misuse of its site, and
  • Make additional improvements to better review and block inappropriate posts.

Attorneys general reached similar agreements with Facebook and MySpace as part of their work to protect children online. Teens and parents can find tips on preventing and responding to online bullying on the Washington Attorney General’s Web site at http://www.atg.wa.gov/InternetSafety.aspx.

The following states and territories participated in the Topix agreement
Arizona
Arkansas
Colorado
Connecticut
Florida
Guam
Hawaii
Illinois
Indiana
Iowa
Kansas
Kentucky
Louisiana
Maine
Maryland
Mississippi
Montana
Nebraska
Nevada
New Hampshire
New Mexico
North Dakota
Northern Mariana Islands
Ohio
Oklahoma
Puerto Rico
Rhode Island
South Dakota
Tennessee
Utah
Vermont
Virginia
Washington
West Virginia



Media Contact: Kristin Alexander, Media Relations Manager, (206) 464-6432, kalexander@atg.wa.gov

 

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