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Nemet Chevrolet, LTD. v. Consumeraffairs.com, Inc., 591 F.3d 250 (4th Cir. 2009)

Type of online publisher: 
Consumeraffairs.com, forum for product and business reviews
Publisher's Role in Third Party Content: 
Provided a forum for customers to post reviews of products and businesses
CDA ยง 230 applicable?: 
Yes

Consumeraffairs.com provided a forum for customers to post reviews of products and businesses. Internet users posted allegedly false negative reviews of the plaintiff's dealership and the used cars they obtained there. Nemet Chevrolet alleged that Consumeraffairs solicited posts from users, put them in particular categories, and edited them. The court held that this behavior would not remove the Consumeraffairs from CDA 230 immunity because it does not turn them into a content creator. Nemet also alleged that Consumeraffairs fabricated reviews on their site. This would make CDA 230 not apply, because Consumeraffairs would be the author, however the court found that the allegation was conclusory and insufficient to go forward.

Key quotes:

Nemet fails to make any cognizable argument as to how a website operator who contacts a potential user with questions thus "develops" or "creates" the website content. Assuming it to be true that Consumeraffairs.com contacted the consumers to ask some unknown question, this bare allegation proves nothing as to Nemet's claim Consumeraffairs.com is an information content provider.

Court Opinion Document: 
Jurisdiction: 
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