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Topix will drop fee for abuse postings

Staff Reports

Nevada has joined 33 other state and territory attorneys general in reaching 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.

The agreement is the result of an initiative led by Kentucky Attorney General Jack Conway, Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal and Nebraska Attorney General Jon Bruning to improve consumer protections on the popular web site.

“I am pleased to join with my fellow Attorneys General to reach an agreement with the company to put a stop to the ‘pay-to-police’ policy to remove abusive posts,” said Attorney General Masto. “I appreciate the cooperation of Topix and look forward to continuing to work with the company to ensure that our citizens, particularly our kids, are not being harmed by harassing and abusive posts.”

As part of the settlement, all reports of abuse on Topix will be reviewed free of charge. The company will also seek to review and remove inappropriate posts within three working days, rather than its previous policy of seven to 14 days. Additionally, Topix has removed the “flagging” option for reporting abusive posts. The option was ineffective and confusing for consumers as it required multiple users to “flag” a post before it was reviewed. As a result, many inappropriate posts consumers thought they had reported were never reviewed.

The site has also agreed to make technical and human resources improvements in order to better review and block inappropriate posts.

Topix has also agreed to:

· Continue cooperating with law enforcement agencies in combating unlawful activity on its web site

· Consult on an as-needed basis with the Attorneys General to discuss issues of concern, including responsiveness to abuse reports and other consumer complaints

· Continue to explore new technology and processes for preventing misuse of its site.

The 34 Attorneys General joining the initiative to address consumer protection concerns with Topix are: 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 and West Virginia.

Topix.com of Palo Alto, CA. describes itself as a “top ten online newspaper destination” which encourages readers to post comments about news items or other matters of community interest.