There is a dangerous, at times criminal, cyberbullying/hate-filled website on the internet called Topix.com that has been allowed to fly under the radar for far too long. Topix, which falsely claims to be a news aggregator (when in fact many of their forums contain virtually no news whatsover), is out of control throughout the United States and other countries. Topix is making a profit off of the very serious issues of bullying, harassment, drug sales, racism, and sexual predators with no accountability. Their lack of conscience is particularly alarming due to the growing number of suicides, cyberstalking victims, and people who have lost their reputations through the behavior of those who hide behind a keyboard.
The way Topix functions is every town and city are given their own Topix site. For example, you can google Van Buren, Missouri topix and then click on the section which says forums. Topix allows hidden posters, without required registration, to post anything they want. This means that in many areas, especially small towns, people are libeled and defamed relentlessly and without moderation. The company claims they will remove abusive posts within 72 hours that are reported, but that rarely occurs. It should not be the responsibility of users to police the site when Topix are the ones making a profit. Topix has no desire to remove particularly popular posts, because they fear it will cost them website hits even if it destroys others. Topix has mocked freedom of speech. Libel, defamation and forums that promote incest and drug sales are not protected by the first amendment. Many innocent people have been called anything from drug users to pedofiles, or are accused of other things. This can destroy a reputation and much of the hatred is targeted toward children with no conscience or morality displayed by Topix management. We encourage you to do a search and find your own town or city's site and you will be horrified by much of what you see. There are also other Topix forums not dedicated to communities such as the human sexuality and AFAM forums that promote racism, incest, and even rape! This is not what the framers of our Constitution meant by the first amendment.
Over 30 attorney generals two years ago sent a letter to the CEO of Topix, Mr.Chris Tolles, and he continues to make excuses. The company has even claimed that speech is more important than the victim. That is morally deplorable. In lieu of numerous complaints, Topix even changed their Terms of Service to become even more vague, making their site worse than ever. People are being forced to move to different towns and there have been incidents of violence because of the Topix website. Please sign the petition and ask for the forums section to either be completely removed if the forums are not going to be better moderated with accountability for those who slander and libel other people's names. Remember it takes a lifetime to build your reputation but only seconds for someone or a cowardly company to destroy it.
This is not an issue of free speech but an issue of a website that allows things not protected by the first amendment to occur for profit.
Topix shamefully allows and basically encourages libel and defamation to occur on its site and is a potential haven for sexual predators. More and more information is coming out about the devastating affects cyberbullying has on people, especially our children. This is why there must be stronger laws passed against cyberbullying and companies who do nothing but profit from this type of behavior.. Topix has forums dedicated to criminal and unethical activities such as the illegal selling of weapons, drugs, and incest. While most people desire limited government in their lives, we elect and need government officials to protect us when needed and it is clear many devastated citizens throughout our communities need serious protection against the Topix website and a management team that has taken no real inititative to protect the innocent.
The way the Topix forums operate is every town and city are given their own forum. For example, you can conduct a google search for Monticello,Kentucky Topix or any other town or city in America (and other countries) and then click on the forums section. The site which claims to be a news aggregator (though many of the forums contain virtually no actual news) allows hidden posters, without required registration (a disaster for a company with over 350,000 forums but less than 40 employees), to post anything they want without consequence. This means that thousands of people have had their reputations, and lives destroyed while Topix profits. Even if a person chooses to ignore the Topix site, if someone's name or business is posted on Topix, it can ruin their life forever because it automatically goes out on google search engines appearing like it is legitimate news, when it is normally libel. There are a growing number of television stations and newspapers that have reported on the lack of ethics involving this company, yet Topix refuses to do anything about the problem such as mandatory registration of its users.
Because of a lack of internet laws, companies like Topix do not feel they have to run an ethical business. The average person cannot afford to pay thousands in legal fees to hire an attorney to fight this company. Those that do defend Topix and sites like it often are the same people who are doing the attacking or believe speech should have no accountability. How would they feel if this unregulated site cost them their job, their reputation, or a loved one's life? No one has that right. People have a right to privacy, protection from certain speech, and there must be guidelines and laws to protect people from the dangers of companies such as Topix.com.
Topix constantly makes excuses and tries to justify its lack of ethics. It is fully understood that many companies are driven by greed, but it should never be at the expense of someone's reputation or life? Topix does not allow you to speak to a live person, refuses to require registration or posting of IP's. Court records have also revealed they have few employees and no real desire to make changes in their site. Topix own moderators have even been known to post on the site attacking other users to try and encourage "hits" to their website.
Even if you report a topic as being inappropriate, Topix rarely removes what is being said, particularly if the topic is popular. Topix even claimed to have made an agreement with several Attorney Generals. Since that time the site has become progressively worse.
Many innocent people have been called anything from drug users to pedofiles, or accused of other libelous things. The CEO of Topix, Mr.Chris Tolles, continues to make excuses and refuses to provide any real protection for private citizens just trying to live their lives. It is only a matter of time before morepeople commit suicide over this site . We beg of you to understand the seriousness of this issue and we are asking for the forums section to be removed and/or better moderated with accountability for those who intentionally attempt to harm others.
Please help demand common sense changes in this website and protect the citizens of this country. Slander, libel, and defamation of character are criminal offenses. We hope and we pray that you protect the innocent and demand reform from this company.