Have you heard of cyberSLAPPs? They are a new form of lawsuit that puts anonymous online speech in jeopardy. So, what is a cyberSLAPP? It typically involves someone posting criticism of a corporation or public figure anonymously on the internet. The target of the criticism then files a frivolous lawsuit in order to issue a subpoena to the website or ISP to reveal the identity of the anonymous critic, and ultimately silence them.
Like standard SLAPP lawsuits, cyberSLAPPs have no legal merit and serve only to intimidate and chill free speech. However, they also have the additional goal of revealing the identity of the anonymous reviewer. The result is a chilling effect, where defendants may opt to remain silent instead of fighting the lawsuit and risking costly legal fees.
CyberSLAPPs pose a threat to the open and free exchange of ideas online. Users may fear being sued if they criticize a business, leading them to hold back or say nothing at all. This could make review sites and message boards less valuable as a source of information and opinion.
What is a cyberSLAPP?
A cyberSLAPP is a lawsuit that aims to silence anonymous online speech by revealing the identity of the critic. It involves posting anonymous criticism of a corporation or public figure on the internet, and the target of the criticism files a frivolous lawsuit in order to reveal the identity of the critic and silence them.
How do cyberSLAPPs threaten free speech online?
CyberSLAPPs have a chilling effect, causing defendants to choose silence instead of risking costly legal fees. This can lead to a lack of open and free exchange of ideas online, and make review sites and message boards less valuable as a source of information and opinion.
CyberSLAPPs are a concerning new threat to free speech online. By revealing the identities of anonymous critics, they have the potential to silence and intimidate others from voicing their opinions. It’s important to stay informed about cyberSLAPPs and ensure that free speech is protected on the internet.