MCDANIEL ANNOUNCES AGREEMENT WITH TOPIX.COM

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August 09, 2010

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
MONDAY, AUGUST 9, 2010

MCDANIEL ANNOUNCES AGREEMENT WITH TOPIX.COM

LITTLE ROCK -- Attorney General Dustin McDaniel today announced that he and other attorneys general have reached an agreement with Internet message board host Topix.com to improve consumer protections and eliminate the $19.99 fee to expedite review of abusive or inappropriate posts.

Topix.com, of Palo Alto, Calif., describes itself as a "top 10 online newspaper destination" which encourages readers to post comments about news items or other matters of community interest.

McDaniel joined attorneys general from 33 other states and territories in the agreement.

"For months my office has been receiving complaints from law enforcement officials, parents, and other concerned citizens regarding Topix. The agreement that we've been able to reach with the company will put a stop to the 'pay-to-police' policy to expedite removal of abusive posts," McDaniel said. "I appreciate the cooperation of Topix and look forward to continuing to work with the company to ensure that our citizens, particularly our children, are not being harmed by harassing and abusive posts."

As part of the settlement, all reports of abuse on Topix will be reviewed free of charge. The company will also seek to review and remove inappropriate posts within three working days, rather than its previous policy of seven to 14 days. Additionally, Topix has removed the "flagging" option for reporting abusive posts. The option was ineffective and confusing for consumers as it required multiple users to "flag" a post before it was reviewed. As a result, many inappropriate posts consumers thought they had reported were never reviewed.

Topix has also agreed to make technical and human resources improvements in order to better review and block inappropriate posts.

Topix has also agreed to:
•Continue cooperating with law enforcement agencies in combating unlawful activity on its website.
•Consult on an as-needed basis with the attorneys general to discuss issues of concern, including responsiveness to abuse reports and other consumer complaints.
•Continue to explore new technology and processes for preventing misuse of its site.

The attorneys general from the following 34 states and territories have joined the initiative to address consumer protection concerns with Topix: Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Guam, Hawaii, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska, New Mexico, Nevada, North Dakota, New Hampshire, Northern Mariana Islands, Ohio, Oklahoma, Puerto Rico, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Tennessee, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington and West Virginia.

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