Barnes v. Yahoo! Opinion on Remand a Caution to Web Site Operators: Don’t Let Employees Make Promises That They Can’t Keep

17 12 2009

To the great frustration of plaintiffs and their attorneys, and even some judges, courts have construed Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act in such a way as to make it virtually impossible to hold a Web site operator liable for defamatory material that is posted on the site by a third party, even if the operator has knowledge of the defamatory nature of the material and refuses to remove it. Many plaintiffs have tried to plead around the robust protection provided by Section 230, but only a very few have succeeded. One of them is Cecilia Barnes, who alleged that she was defamed by false dating profiles posted by an ex-boyfriend on Yahoo!’s dating Web site. Any claim that Yahoo! was liable for the posting of the profiles by the ex-boyfriend is precisely the sort of claim that is barred by Section 230. But Barnes claimed that a separate promise by a Yahoo! employee to remove the profiles was not precluded.

Earlier this year, in Barnes v. Yahoo!, Inc., 570 F.3d 1096 (9th Cir. 2009), the Ninth Circuit agreed with Barnes.

The content in this post was found at and was not authored by the moderators of Clicking the title link will take you to the source of the post.



Leave a comment

You must be logged in to post a comment