HARTFORD, Conn. (Legal Newsline) - Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal announced on Monday that, along with 31 other state attorneys general, he has reached an agreement with an Internet message board host to stop alleged pay-to-police policies.
Topix.com was contacted by Blumenthal and Kentucky Attorney General Jack Conway in February. The two expressed concerns about a $19.99 fee the company charged its users to provide expedient policing of its posts.
Under terms of the agreement, Topix will eliminate its fee for a fast review of inappropriate or abusive posts and will work to improve consumer protections.
"Our agreement eliminates a pay-to-police policy that Topix ultimately realized was unfair to victims of abusive posts," Blumenthal said.
"Stopping harassment should be a right-not a paid service-and I applaud Topix for recognizing its responsibility to respond to such reports."
Self-described as a "top 10 online newspaper destination," Topix encourages its users to post comments about news items or other community interests.
From now on, Topix will review all reports of abuse free of charge, will provide further human and technical resources to block inappropriate posts and any flagged posts for review no longer require multiple complaints to be seen.
"Online abuse and harassment will be addressed more promptly and free of charge, and illegal activity reported to law enforcement," Blumenthal said.
"Our coalition of states will continue to monitor the site to ensure that reports of abusive and harmful posts are handled appropriately."
Topix will also continue working with law enforcement agencies and the attorneys general in stopping unlawful activity on its Web site.
Joining Blumenthal are attorneys general from Arkansas, Arizona, Colorado, Florida, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, North Dakota, New Hampshire, New Mexico, Ohio, Oklahoma, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Tennessee, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington and West Virginia.