"The freedom to speak one's mind is not only an aspect of individual liberty - and thus a good unto itself - but also is essential to the common quest for truth and the vitality of society as a whole."

Bose Corp. v. Consumers Union, 466 U.S. 485, 503-04 (1984)

Ed Responds To Critics

Ed Responds To Critics

Critics of Ed Magedson and the Ripoff Report® don’t hold back much.  Here are some actual quotes from a few of Ed’s anonymous critics:

Ed Magedson is a wanted CRIMINAL

The Ripoff Report is involved in RACKETEERING

The Corporate Advocacy Program is EXTORTION

These are harsh words.   If true, these would be very serious allegations.

Sadly, these statements are NOT true.  They are lies that the REAL crooks spread in an effort to discredit the Ripoff Report.   Think about it – if you repeat a lie often enough, some people may start to believe it no matter how groundless it might be.  That’s what Ed’s critics are counting on.

Let’s cut through the nonsense and give you some facts instead of the lies Ed’s critics love to use.  If you hear Ed’s side of the story and still want to criticize him, that’s your prerogative.

The bottom line is this – most people who are upset with Ed Magedson feel that way because they think Ed is legally (or morally) responsible for the accuracy of complaints posted on the Ripoff Report.  A lot of people who have had allegedly false complaints posted about them or their business feel a need to blame Ed for not “investigating” the report first, or for not removing it when asked.

Anyone who has spent even five minutes researching Ripoff Report’s legal background knows the standard response – despite many lawsuits against it, Ripoff Report has never lost a case.  It has never lost because courts have consistently determined that Ed and the Ripoff Report are not legally responsible for the accuracy of statements posted by users of the site.  Sorry, but that’s the law.

Okay, but just because a court ruled one way in the past doesn’t mean that a different court can’t reach a different conclusion in the future, right?  Laws can always be changed to address new media and new situations.  Has the time come to consider changing the law to make Ripoff Report responsible for everything that’s posted on the site?

As you might expect, Ed’s answer is pretty simple – no, of course the law shouldn’t be changed.  But do you know WHY Ed feels that way?  Have you ever stopped to consider what would happen if the law was changed?

Consider this – anyone who has seen the movie “The Social Network” knows the story of Facebook – the site was founded by Harvard student Mark Zuckerberg who became the youngest billionaire in history as his site grew to more than 500 million users.   Not everyone uses Facebook on a daily basis, but most people who try the site realize what a useful tool it can be for sharing ideas, reconnecting with old friends and making new ones.

Of course, with 500 million users, Facebook cannot and does not screen every posting on the site for accuracy.  In fact, anyone can anonymously create a free Facebook account in a matter of minutes and using that account they can say anything they want, 24 hours a day, visible to anyone with a computer anywhere on Earth.

Does that mean Mark Zuckerberg (or Facebook staff) should be required to personally review and investigate every statement posted on Facebook by every one of its 500 million users?  How could Facebook even begin to do that, and what if you disagreed with Facebook’s conclusions?  What then?

Here’s the problem — if the law was changed to make website operators legally responsible for the speech of their users, the result would be this – Facebook would no longer exist as we know it.   Anyone who was offended by someone else’s post on Facebook could simply contact the site, say the post was false, and it would be immediately removed.  As a matter of simple economics, even a successful site like Facebook could never afford to spend tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars in legal fees defending lawsuits over material posted by users.   Rather than facing “death by 10,000 duck bites” fighting case after case, Facebook would have no choice but to remove material regardless of its truth or accuracy.

Just think how this would affect the amount and type of speech online.   Republicans could hire people to watch Democratic blogs and then submit cease-and-desist letters to the blog host demanding the removal of anything remotely questionable.  Because the host could face liability if it failed to remove something on request, the result would be rampant censorship of important ideas and opinions which people have a right to express.

This is what Ed’s critics don’t seem to realize – if you changed the law for Ripoff Report, you’d also be changing it for Facebook, Twitter, Wikipedia, and even Google.  All of these sites have content provided by users, and a lot of that content would vanish if the website host could be held responsible for something created by a user.

If you have been falsely criticized in an online post, changing the law may seem like a no-brainer.  But do we really want to live in a world where free speech is no longer free?

Ed Magedson believes the First Amendment is more important than that.  So, when other sites run and hide, removing content rather than dealing with a lawsuit, Ed doesn’t hide.  He puts his money where his mouth is – spending millions of his own money defending the right of every American to speak freely.

Now that you’ve heard Ed’s side of the story, if you still want to criticize him, that’s your right.  Just don’t forget to thank Ed for fighting to protect the First Amendment rights we all enjoy!

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4 Responses to Ed Responds To Critics

  1. Sanser Meitou says:

    I for one, with Ed 100% . Truth is only spoken repeadly at the same level to bring out suspect to exposed on this website to informed others to stay alert from becoming the next suspect. Ed is not responsible for what I said or what John doe said. This is becomes public forum. If anyone or any source disagree with ripoff that caused too much problems and threaten this website to removed, they need to educate yourself to understand the vernacular of public. Anything is public it stays public. A city can owned an entire street that runs by prostitutes. Are they going to closed down the entire street because too many prostitute runs up and pulling tricks causing problems to neighbors and residents. No! The city is not responsible for the prostitutes actions same thing with Ed the founders of this website. It becomes a useful ways public access to speak their minds in any ways shapes and performed without ripoff or Ed hold responsible, it should not have, Ed is the owner of this sites, the city own the street loode by prostitutes, everybody hold responsible of their own actions displayed either on a public sides street or public forum that is private or none private still public. People only disagree with ripoff sites because of their own fear of exposing the truth about them, something we should all thankful for to have a sites to express our 1at Amendment where this sites was crated by Ed for this purposed. A website I want to go straight to when it comes to the meaning of ripoff, corruptions, criminals, Ripoff is a number one sites to go to. Other than what said on the forum it’s the public message not ripoff. Ripoff is websites provides information that informed, shared, educates, the public on what the logo stand for to get us to the core of what is corruption, fraud, who’s committing what, here on ripoff we’re educated us more on crimes committed by the unexpected. For example, we believed in priest are holy cost this websites will revealed the truth, not so. Cases and cases of child molesting performed by the priest is that holy? I bet some people would still denied the fact is false. Ed is doing the right thing people have no business waste their times suing ripoff. Ripoff is doing no wrong put served the public. We should thank ed for his genius ideas and creations that had it’s purpose and serves us well to reached across the measures to speak our mind. Thank you Mr. Ed, staffs and thank you ripoff a sites the world needs and we’re lucky to have you.

  2. Terese says:

    Am hat’s off to you for knowing the law, standing on your principles
    and applying common sense!

  3. Thank you Ed for giving us Rip off Reports. People needs to know what these so call popular phone carriers are up to such as, T Mobile. To be a giant company they are looking at a beat-down in the near future. It takes one step to climb the highest mountain. It takes one disgruntle customer to take you out of business. On this website I have read a few reviews regarding T Mobile. Their customer service sucks and they have the nerve to be calling themselves SPECIALIST. sPECIAList of What?

  4. David says:

    I’ve been doing a lot of reading on the First Amendment; i.e. “free speech” issues. The fact is that ‘free speech’ is routinely abused and/or used in clearly irresponsible, anti-social, and harmful ways (pornography, anyone?). I like what Ed is trying to do because obviously there does need to be a method for publicly exposing, or at least discussing, companies that indulge in fraudulent business practices. At the same time, Ed shouldn’t hide behind the First Amendment if there are frequent and harmful posts about a company.


    David,

    Sorry — saying that someone is “hiding” behind the First Amendment is a weak cop-out. It’s just not as simple as you suggest. As a starting point, it is IMPOSSIBLE (meaning: NOT POSSIBLE) for a website owner to serve as the truth police. In case that isn’t clear, here is the problem — whether or not something is protected by the First Amendment involves a very, very, very, very complicated legal and factual analysis. Step #1 is to determine whether or not the statement is factually true. Of course, in the vast majority of situations, posts on Ripoff Report involve facts/events that happened between two private parties, and the only people who know the truth are the parties themselves. In virtually every instance, it is NOT possible for any outsider to conclusively know which side is telling the truth. That is why ROR’s policy is to allow both sides to tell their story and let the readers decide for themselves who and what to believe.

    If a post on ROR can be proven false with evidence, then the answer is really simple — the affected party can just post their evidence in a rebuttal, thus allowing the world to see the truth. The fact that we allow both sides to speak their own truth does not mean we are hiding behind the First Amendment — on the contrary, it means we are letting the First Amendment work exactly as intended.

    Of course, I know the typical response to this argument: “Well, yeah, but most people won’t bother to read everything…they will just see that Company X has a complaint on Ripoff Report and then they will decide Company X is bad and shouldn’t be trusted.”

    I’m really sorry if that’s true, but if people can’t be bothered to read both sides, why is that my fault?

    — ED

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