The Basics: What is CheaterReport.com?
CheaterReport.com is a popular online platform for users to post about unfaithful and cheating spouses or lovers. They endorse themselves as “the number one online site to report cheaters and lookup reported cheaters.” Upon landing on the front page, users are immediately presented with the option to “report a cheater,” and browse from an array of categories ranging from state-by-state, celebrity, and even “creep.” Not only does their website offer a platform for users and cheaters in the United States, but also includes such countries as England, Denmark, China, Canada, and New Zealand.
CheaterReport.com poses a serious threat to you and your reputation, as their site extends globally, and is one of the most heavily trafficked cheater reporting websites on the Internet. Information purported as truth especially carries a substantial risk of materially affecting your reputation, livelihood, and even future relationships.
Defamation Law Fact: When diving into the world of defamation, it’s first important to understand the correct legal terms for the two main types; libel and slander. The general public often mistakenly refers to written and online defamation as slander, when in fact all written false statements harming another’s reputation is actually called “libel.” Slander is a false spoken statement damaging a person’s reputation.
Even a brief scan of some of their “Random Cheater Reports” immediately calls into question the veracity of the information and the identity of the poster. Most posts on CheaterReport.com do not address substantiated facts, and are nothing more than baseless and malicious accusations. CheaterReport is a platform where mud-slinging is ripe, with users carelessly throwing around such terms as “slut,” “criminal,” “drug addict,” and other derogatory terms. Some posts even go so far as to label innocent persons as “prostitutes,” possessing of an STD, or perpetrators of other nefarious and lewd sex acts.
Unfortunately, even unsubstantiated and baseless online accusations can have a devastating effect on your personal, social, and professional reputation. If you have been attacked and had your name and reputation dragged through the mud on CheaterReport.com, reach out to the Minc Law team if internet defamation attorneys to discuss your options.
Put an end to online harassment once and for all by calling Aaron and his team at (216) 373-7706 for a free, no-obligation, consultation, or by scheduling a meeting online by filling out our online contact form.
Defamation Law Fact: The party who has made a false statement of fact materially damaging another’s reputation is often referred to as a “defamer,” “slanderer,” or “libeler,” depending on how the statement is published (i.e. written or spoken).
Elements of Safe and Trustworthy User-Generated Content Websites
User-generated content websites are often useful and rewarding for users, helping effectively disseminate and spread thoughtful, provoking, and unique content. Such websites who have established a smooth-running and safe environment for users to share information include Facebook, Reddit, and Quora. At minimum, effective and trustworthy user-generated content websites should have the following elements and protections set in place:
- Non-bias: User-generated content websites are highly susceptible to bias, leaving it up to the reader to decide what is and isn’t legitimate. Bias isn’t entirely preventable, as all user-generated websites will have some degree of bias. A safe and positive content platform will allow for bias, but require substantiating evidence and limit supplementary content that isn’t constructive to the message or point. CheaterReport and other cheater reporting websites fail to weed out unconstructive and immaterial accompanying information, allowing for irrational and malicious bias.
- Credibility: Who are the users generating the content? Is there any substantiating evidence? What makes someone an expert or authority on a topic? For instance, Reddit encourages users to look for an original source of content before posting, give proper attribution credit, and has clearly outlined guidelines and rules for posting in subreddits. Posts on Reddit and Quora may be upvoted and downvoted, thus helping draw attention to legitimate and accurate posts and information, while suppressing fake and inaccurate content.
So, where does CheaterReport.com rank in the realm of legitimate and trustworthy user-generated content websites? Very low.
Defamation Law Fact: Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act is the primary piece of legislation providing immunity for internet service providers and user-generated content platforms when defamatory or false information is posted due to the fact they are not the original publishers or creators of the content.
Three Key Issues Affecting CheaterReport.com’s Trustworthiness
CheaterReport.com may be the go-to website for reporting cheating spouses and exes, but should be approached with caution and a high level of skepticism. Several key issues plague its legitimacy and trustworthiness, endangering your reputation and livelihood. Such issues include:
- Anonymous posts and informal verification procedures: CheaterReport.com only requires a user’s email address before allowing them to post. Not only can users sign up using a throwaway email, but they can effectively keep creating new accounts to defame and attack innocent persons. Internet users enjoy a heightened sense of invincibility when they are able to hide their identities, leading to a higher likelihood of attacks and malicious posts. Additionally, CheaterReport.com allows users to post photos, availing innocent persons to an even more invasive attack on their privacy.
- Court orders and binding arbitration decisions: CheaterReport.com emphasizes that they “value First Amendment rights,” making it known that removal is by no means an easy process. They require injured users to provide them with a court order or binding arbitration decision before removing any defamatory or false content.
- Partnership with InternetReputationControl.com: Although CheaterReport.com provides users with an actionable resource of recourse for removing information by listing InternetReputationControl.com as their arbitration service provider, it’s not always as simple as contacting them. CheaterReport.com’s “Contact Us” page reads, “…we participate in the arbitration service provided by Internet Reputation Control, Inc., an independent company and we do not receive money for removals,” however, there have been instances with other user-generated content platforms in the past who have lied about having no financial interest. That’s not to say this is the case here, but it’s important to approach these websites with caution. As CheaterReport.com hints at only one avenue of removal, through InternetReputationControl.com, it casts a light on potential underlying financial incentives and a conflict of interest, instead of promoting a positive and safe posting platform with numerous accessible removal methods.
CheaterReport.com fails to take into account any of the above protections or guidelines, allowing for anonymous sign-up and unverified information, thus creating a safe-haven for malicious posters and defamatory content. All it takes is for one malicious user to permanently alter or tarnish your reputation, therefore it’s important to act as soon as possible.
Hesitation could lead to malicious and defamatory information spreading further, embedding itself into other websites, and complicating the removal process. Act now, and call the Minc Law Team at (216) 373-7706, or schedule a meeting online by filling out our online contact form.
Defamation Law Fact: If someone has posted photos of you on CheaterReport.com or on other user-generated content websites, you may be able to remove the content by filing a DMCA Takedown Notice alleging copyright infringement.
Who Can I Hold Liable For Defamatory Content Posted on CheaterReport.com?
User-generated content websites enjoy a great detail of protection under Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act (CDA), making the removal process an arduous and confusing one for injured parties wanting to remove the content by themselves. Section 230 reads, “No provider or user of an interactive computer service shall be treated as the publisher or speaker of any information provided by another information content provider,” thus leaving only one real channel of recourse; holding the individual poster liable.
When analyzing a website’s immunity under the CDA, courts generally apply a three-prong test, requiring defendants tick all three boxes in order to enjoy immunity.
- A defendant must be a “provider or user” of an interactive computer service,
- The cause of action against the defendant must identify the defendant as the publisher or speaker of the harmful material at issue, and
- The information need be provided by another information content provider (i.e. most likely a site user or poster).
CheaterReport.com acknowledges these protections in a rather blunt and snarky way, stating on their “Contact Us” page, “All posts in the site are the opinion of their authors, we do not represent that any information is true, use your own discretion. Also, do not threaten us, deal with the person who posted. If you threaten us, we will post your threats. If you contact our service providers, we will find out and will let our audience discuss you openly (there are hundreds of web hosting companies, do you really think that you can keep us down?) We value First Amendment rights.”
Don’t be deterred, as you can still hold an individual poster liable, if you are able to identify them. One popular option is to issue a subpoena to the Internet Service Provider (ISP) asking them to provide you with the identity or IP address of the malicious poster in question. However, since most Internet-related defamation claims are brought under state law, they will require the issuance of a subpoena at the state level.
The attorneys at Minc Law will help to identify the forum where the offending individual is located and formulate a strategic game-plan in order to hold them liable and permanently remove the content. In Ohio, one remedy for injured parties is a court-ordered injunction, forcing the author of defamatory content to remove it and refrain from any future postings.
If you’re unable to hold an individual user liable for a defamatory post, there are several exceptions to the CDA enabling you to compel a website to remove certain types of content. Such exceptions include:
- Intellectual property claims: Copyright, trademark, and other intellectual property infringement claims are not covered by the CDA, and may be a viable method for removing offensive content.
- Criminal law violations: Although websites enjoy considerable protection under the CDA, they are not immune from Federal and state criminal laws, specifically laws relating to revenge porn, the exploitation of children, or obscenity.
- Editorial comments materially altering the message: The crux of the CDA centers on user generated content websites not being the true author of content, therefore, if a website materially alters or edits posted content, they are no longer covered under the CDA.
- Promissory Estoppel: The CDA will not apply if a website explicitly states or enters into a contract promising to waive their CDA immunity.
- Encouragement to post illegal content: Websites encouraging users to commit illegal acts or post illegal content will open them up to liability.
For a further explanation of the various exceptions to the CDA, check out this article explaining your rights and options for removal, “The Dark Side of the Internet: How to Remove Defamatory Online Content“.
Defamation Law Fact: If you have been injured my malicious or defamatory posts online, acting swiftly to remove such information is essential. The longer defamatory information stays online, the greater likelihood friends, family, or colleagues could find it, potentially resulting in strained relationships or loss of employment.
Looking to Remove Defamatory Content From CheaterReport.com? Contact the Defamation Removal Attorneys of Minc, LLC
Although CheaterReport.com was created with good intentions and transparency in mind, it has unfortunately morphed into a platform highly susceptible to abuse and malicious postings. An ideal of warning others of unfaithful spouses and cheaters has turned into a site where users embarrass and humiliate innocent parties, with little to no substantiating evidence.
To discuss how the defamation removal attorneys at Minc, LLC can help remove such online abuse, reach out for a free, no-obligation consultation, by calling (216) 373-7706, or schedule a meeting online by filling out our contact form today. Aaron and his team have proven success permanently removing defamatory posts and content, and all for a reasonable fee. Curb false content before it spreads and call today for a free, no-obligation, consultation.