Someone developed a social media network that permits users to post local news/events and information.

What are the legal ramifications toward the developer if someone uses the platform as a way to spread fake or inauthentic content, potentially in a manner that might negatively affect local businesses.

Could the developer face legal ramifications for this content?

  • Is this in the U*S if not what country? Both answer to date are US-specific. Apr 1 '19 at 9:26
  • @DavidSiegl Yes, this is the US Apr 1 '19 at 14:04

To be very clear, you can still be sued in civil court for what someone has posted on you platform; basically, anyone can sue anyone for virtually anything in civil court, and if sued, you will have to answer the lawsuit with the help of an attorney. But you can use The Communications Decency Act as a defense, and most likely prevail, in looking at many past cases and case law. And most potential litigants and their attorneys will realize the CDA provides strong protections to platform administrators and know that they do not have a strong case. Running a public business means having legal issues; the best thing to do is find a lawyer who can advise you before you launch.

  • Thank you. That's really helpful. Unfortunately, I'm not in a position where I can personally afford an attorney, so I'd likely hire one after launch if the platform becomes popular. When I get more reputation, I'll upvote your answer. Mar 31 '19 at 15:16
  • You're better off getting a free attorney consultation to start, so you know what you might be up against. Mar 31 '19 at 16:16

Under 47 U.S.C. § 230, a Provision of the Communication Decency Act, social media providers are not responsible for the content posted on their platforms.

"No provider or user of an interactive computer service shall be treated as the publisher or speaker of any information provided by another information content provider"

  • Thank you very much. So if I build a social network platform, and someone posts false information that harms the reputation of a local business, then I can not be held responsible for defemation or have any other legal actions taken against me? Mar 31 '19 at 6:26
  • @JamieCorkhill that right, as mentioned in another question, someone can still sue you, but the likely hood of it being dismissed is fairly high. Apr 17 '19 at 18:14

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