GoDaddy is In Some X-Rated Hot Water
23 women have filed a class-action lawsuit against the owners of Texxxan.com. This website allows users to upload graphic photographs and videos known as “revenge porn.” As you might have guessed, these pictures are taken — without consent from subjects — from cellphones, computers, and other files by ex-boyfriends looking to anger ex-girlfriends.
Not only is Texxxan.com in trouble / hot water, but the web hosting company GoDaddy is also part of the suit. GoDaddy knew about the unethical website, and still allowed Texxxan.com to operate. Further, when one woman asked the site to take down her photograph, the site told her that the photo would only be taken down if she supplied her credit card information. Yikes!
GoDaddy is In Some X-Rated Hot Water: Why GoDaddy Is In Trouble
As one lawyer who has taken this case, John S. Morgan, states: “GoDaddy is profiting off of it… it raises issues of corporate responsibility. Why would an organization like GoDaddy want to give its name to this type of website?”
The short answer is that GoDaddy wanted to continue to receive the funds that the site was generating. The long answer is that GoDaddy now has a tarnished name, and that can draw both bad and good publicity. Those who have never before heard of GoDaddy might now look at the hosting site, and those who have heard of it might now turn away from the site (hot water). Along with GoDaddy and Texxxan.com, the 23 women are also going after all subscribers.
GoDaddy is In Some X-Rated Hot Water: Are You Responsible For What's On Your Site?
Texxxan.com claims that the company is not responsible for the content uploaded by users. Execs are largely hiding behind Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, which states that websites are not liable for content submitted by those using a site. So, Facebook is not responsible for the photographs that you post, for example.
However, there's a loophole here. Texxxan.com advertised the type of content that was on the site, so the content legally became something that Texxxan.com knew about and promoted. Therefore, the content was no longer simply uploaded by anonymous users who had nothing to do with the site. The case has yet to be heard by the court, but the women behind the suit are hopeful that justice will be served.
At the time being, you may not be directly responsible for the content that's on your site. But, it will pay to shut down any user account that's questionable, or you might end up with a lawsuit. Then again, Texxxan.com (hot water) had to know that a suit of this kind would be coming down the pipeline at some point, and I'm betting they have some serious lawyers on their side.
GoDaddy is In Some X-Rated Hot Water: GoDaddy's Role In This
As a site host, GoDaddy should have shut down Texxxan.com. It is unclear whether or not any of the women impacted by this site contacted the website hosting company directly. If the company was contacted and did not act, GoDaddy could be in some serious trouble. For now, Texxxan.com (hot water)remains active.
It will be interesting to see how this case plays out. It could be a very valuable lesson for any site owners seeking to extort people, as was the case with Texxxan.com.