Model Mayhem takes one step closer to losing their Section 230 protection

Now I’m not sure if it was a brain fart, an attempt at white knightery, or just a complete lack of awareness of the rules at Model Mayhem or rule the of law but this one statement has a potential to create liability problems for the site in the form of causing them to lose their CDA section 230 immunity.

In this thread, a model is complaining that a photograer might flake on her. Out of left field, a moderator post this reply

You could have intimidated him and scared him off.  smile But he owes you money or a shoot.

Can you submit a CAM so we’ll have record of who this is?

Now I’m not sure if it was a brain fart, an attempt at white knightery, or just a complete lack of awareness of the rules at Model Mayhem or rule the of law but this one statement has a potential to create liability problems for the site in the form of causing them to lose their CDA section 230 immunity. If you have any doubt, I refer you to Scott P. v. Craigslist Inc. in which the Superior Court of the State of California, County of San Francisco ruled the defamation case can continue because Craigslist had given up its protection under Section 230 by telling the plaintiff that they would “take care of it”.

This post by an authorized representative of Model Mayhem is saying far more than “we’ll take care of it”. When challenged, this moderator posted this in a subsequent reply

I know the rules, thanks.  I didn’t say anything about being involved.  I stated for record keeping purposes.

implying that Model Mayhem keeps some kind of record of those who might flake. Remember at the time of this post, the scheduled shoot had not happened yet so there is no way to determine if the photographer will show or not.  The model updated the thread later by posting

Good News!

I managed to locate an alternative contact number for him and the shoot went ahead today and OMG im so glad it did cause hes amazing

He hadnt picked up my emails for some strange reason sad

will be posting pics soon smile

In a subsequent site related thread, another moderator offered a conflicting opinion on the matter but the damage has already been done. The post is on record.

Let’s say another model contacts Model Mayhem to get references for this photographer. As is standard practice, the model will be told they do not provide references. Now suppose the model proceeds with the shoot and travels out of State to shoot with this photographer who does not show up. She can now sue Model Mayhem for her losses for failing to give her a warning when in a public thread, they stated they are keeping records of photographers who might flake.

A far more damaging scenario can emerge. The site has repeatedly asked members to report possibly criminal actions by other members for “record keeping purposes”. This sets up a far more serious problem if a member gets assaulted after he/she has asked for references from the site and is denied.

For the record, I am opposed to the ruling in the Scott P. v. Craigslist case but that’s how the existing law is written. Websites have far more protection under Section 230 by doing nothing. That’s not an ideal situation for users but until it is hashed out in the courts, it would be best for Internet Brands to instruct their representatives to refrain from getting involved when no one has even asked for their help.