Under the statutory scheme of 47 U.S.C.S. § 230(c), an "interactive computer service" qualifies for immunity so long as it does not also function as an "information content provider" for the portion of the statement or publication at issue.
A third-party created a matchmaking profile on the defendant internet matchmaker's internet service, using the plaintiff identity theft victim's name, address, personal information, and pictures. The victim discovered the identity theft when she began receiving sexual and threatening emails and voicemails. The victim brought suit against the internet matchmaker for invasion of privacy, defamation, negligence, and misappropriation, but the district court granted summary judgment in favor of the defendant. Plaintiff appealed from the United States District Court for the Central District of California.
Under 47 U.S.C. § 230(c)(1), may a computer matchmaking service be statutorily immune from liability for false content in a dating profile provided by someone posing as another person?
The judgment of the district court was affirmed on other grounds. The grant of summary judgment was affirmed because the appellate court found that under 47 U.S.C.S. § 230(c)(1), the internet matchmaker was statutorily immune from the victim's suit. Under 47 U.S.C.S. § 230(c), so long as a third party willingly provides the essential published content, the interactive service provider receives full immunity, regardless of the specific editing or selection process. The internet matchmaker was not an information content provider because none of its matchmaking profiles had any content until a user actively created it. The internet matchmaker simply published a profile that was created by a third-party, and the fact that some of the content was formulated in response to the internet matchmaker's questionnaire did not alter the fact that the internet matchmaker did not play a significant role in creating, developing or transforming the relevant information.