A defendant who posted a series of rants on the website “Ripoff Reports” claimed that the nature and tone of the website, and the posts that appeared on it, were enough to defeat a claim of libel. Plaintiff, Piping Rock Partners, and its sole shareholder posted a series of rants about David Lerner Associates. Piping Rock claimed that the rants were just that, and raised an “everyone knows the internet is just for ranting and not to be taken too seriously” defense.
The Court disagreed and with a shoutout to a popular search engine, ruled that anything that is searchable on google is presumed true.
Piping Rock Partners Inc. v. David Learner Associates Inc, (here) represents another case in the shifting tide toward giving more credibility to website postings. Is it time to shift the presumption of posts from false to true ? I would argue context matters. After all, think about all those dating website posts. Looks like Poppy won this one.