A huge new lawsuit has been lodged against a number of the world’s biggest social media sites, including Facebook and Reddit, by a newsreader in Philadelphia. It was filed after she spotted a security camera photo of herself being used for dating and erectile dysfunction adverts on the platforms.
As per The Verge, Philadelphia Fox 29 News anchor Karen Hepp names Facebook, Giphy, Imgur, Reddit, and pornography site XNXX in the suit. She states that her “Right of Publicity” has been violated, which has caused “irreparable harm from the dissemination and publication of her image on various commercial websites.” The image in question was used in adverts that appeared on the aforementioned social media platforms, but for various purposes. On Facebook, it was for meet-ups with “single women,” while on XNXX and Imgur it appeared in galleries and photo tags of a sexually explicit nature. It also featured in an erectile dysfunction advert, and a subreddit devoted to sexual photos of older women.
Hepp is attempting to give the platforms no choice but to remove the image, and requests damage in an amount “not yet determined […] including actual damages, reputational damages, and/or Defendants’ profits in an amount in excess of $10,000,000,” plus attorney fees.
However, Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act states that corporations generally can’t be held accountable for content posted to their site by its users. Although the image appeared on Reddit, for example, it was done so by members of the site, and not admin, thus legally removing the liability from Reddit. She would need to target the individual poster of the image.