The first thing that I want to say is PLEASE DO NOT SIGN FOR ANYONE BUT YOURSELF. I have been told that there are signatures on this petition of people who say they did not sign it. This is not okay. While I do want to collect as many signatures as possible... I do NOT want to do it by cheating.
Secondly, I suggest that you click the box that allows you to keep your signature private. You do not need to post it publicly. If you keep it private, nobody will know that you signed it except for the the legislators that are receiving emails about this peition and myself. I will safeguard your privacy as this cause is about being attacked ONLINE and the last thing that I want to do is drag other people into this sordid drama. It is terrible and I wouldn't wish it on my worst enemy.
Now... about the petition:
Naturally, when there is any degree of progress in society there also comes challenges and new issues that need to be addressed. Due to the rapid growth of technology, at the click of a button, we can publish, promote, and/or advertise anything we choose.
Most respected internet websites take great care in maintaining their reputation by regulating the content of their publications or posts, but there is one website in particular that has found the value in housing the criminals of cyberspace.
Topix, LLC has become notorious for its tolerance of offensive, defamatory, harassing, and even criminal posts. In August of 2010, CEO Chris Tolles joined into an agreement with the Attorney General’s office of 32 states. The Attorney Generals and Consumer Affairs were concerned about the conduct taking place on this website and found it necessary to address several issues surrounding that conduct and how Topix should handle those issues from that date on.
Prior to the agreement, Topix was charging $19.99 each and every time that a victim of harassment and/or defamation requested to have a post removed. The agreement specified that that charge would be removed. In addition, the agreements stated that Topix would remove posts within 3 business days of being notified that they contain harassing, illegal, or defamatory statements.
I believe that Topix has breached their contract with the Attorney General’s office. These “smear campaigns” are on the rise and Topix is the venue that is making that possible. The legal system is becoming more and more aware of this problem due to a rise in Topix related lawsuits. Chris Tolles silence and blatant refusal to comply, in addition to ignoring subpoenas, makes it clear that he does not care if lives are being destroyed and reputations are being tainted as long as he is getting that paycheck from ad revenue.
Consumer Affairs and the Attorney General’s Office in Tennessee have been notified of the breach of contract between Topix, LLC and the Attorney Generals and the matter is being investigated. However, the more people that file complaints, the more likely that they will take this seriously enough to take action.
In GA, a man recently won a $404,000.00 Judgment from a lawsuit against one defendant, who posted under six different screen names, on the controversial site.
Senator Jack Johnson’s office, among others, has taken interest in the matter and, if Topix (and other sites like Topix) cannot abide by the law and, if nothing else, keep the promise made between them and the Attorney General’s Office, we may see our legislation being affected within the next year.
In the past, Topix owner Chris Tolles has used the “freedom of speech” argument. But, I’m certain that this is not what was mean by freedom of speech. As in every other law, there is a distinct line where one person’s rights end and another person’s rights begin. That line has clearly been crossed in 99.9% of the posts made by posters on Topix.
As if this wasn’t enough to make you wonder how an organization as shady as this one could manage to fly under the radar for so long. Then you don’t even want to know what else I’ve found on Topix. Drug dealers are marketing their products via Topix in plain view.
This makes Chris Tolles and the employees of Topix, LLC accessories of a crime.
The public needs to be aware of this, and people need to know that they have a voice. If anyone has experienced a problem with Topix, they should report it to Consumer Affairs and your Attorney General’s Office today. Maybe if enough people take a stand, Topix CEO Chris Tolles will finally get the message that it is not okay to profit from criminal activity.
If you have been a victim of defamation on Topix, or any other forum, follow the below links for additional information on this subject.
HOW CAN WE FIX THIS PROBLEM?
1) By holding website owners accountable for what is published on their websites. If this were to happen, I bet that Mr. Tolles would make more of an effort to keep defamatory, harrassing, and criminal posts off of his site. It's called moderating and it's a concept that has not been used by Topix in the past;
2) By requiring users to register for an account and only allowing 1 user per IP address. Of course, there are ways to get around this but it would probably cut the "trolling" down by atleast 50%;
3) By amending the defamation/libel laws to make it a crime. This way it would be easier for victims of defamation to pursue their attackers without having to dish out thousands of dollars for justice; and/or
4) By amending the cyberbullying/harassment laws so that they are more definite. The laws are vague and, in most cases, the magistrates/district attorneys are not willing to pursue an attacker who uses a public forum as their venue to attack. By making those laws more clear we would be making it easier to press charges on people who use public forums to attack their victims.
Heather Cohen started this petition with a single signature, and now has 404 supporters. Start a petition today to change something you care about.