Skip to main content

Every now and then, I Google myself on the internet. Recently I noticed something strange in the search results.

94109 |

I found out that many years ago apparently someone used (without permission) my full name and location (country, city) together with false information on an American stock message board forum on the internet.
I asked the webmaster to remove this information (not to remove the post, but just my full name) , but he refused. The webmaster stated the following: “The post is not subject to removal. It’s not actionable as it does not violate the website's Terms of Service. Further, even if there was some legal theory for its removal, which there is not, it is long past any governing statute of limitation. The post is not going to come down nor is it going to be edited.”I don’t understand the webmaster refuses my request. What can I do to have my name removed ?

Attorney Answers 3

  1. You might consider hiring an attorney to pen a letter on your behalf. That sometimes can get attention and action where it’s no skin off the site owner's chin. I wouldn't put too much stock in the webmaster as speaking for the site owner.

    You could bring a suit--on what grounds and whether you could win is unclear on the limited facts proposed.

    Keep in mind it may be that the site is not obligated by law or circumstance to remove your name as disconcerting as that might be. I've posted a few comments I wish I hadn't myself......

    Recommend you sit down with a Bay Area attorney and strategize a bit--perhaps with more detailed revelation of the facts, the attorney will be able to chart a more clear way-ahead.

    Best of luck to you.

    NOT LEGAL ADVICE. FOR EDUCATION AND INFORMATION ONLY. DO NOT RELY ON ANY ADVICE YOU RECEIVE FROM ME OR ANY OTHER ATTORNEY IN THIS FORUM. Legal advice comes after a complete review of the facts and relevant documents and an expressed (written) agreement of representation that forms attorney-client confidentiality. Neither of these two events can occur in this forum. Mr. Rafter is licensed to practice in the Commonwealth of Virginia and the US Federal Courts in Virginia. His answers to any Avvo question are rooted in general legal principles--NOT your specific state laws. There is no implied or actual attorney-client relationship arising from this education exchange. You should speak with an attorney licensed in your state, to whom you have provided all the facts before you take steps that may impact your legal rights. Mr. Rafter is under no obligation to answer subsequent emails or phone calls related to this or any other matter.

  2. You probably won't get it removed. Websites enjoy substantial immunity from lawsuits. Congress has passed laws that protect websites from such lawsuits. You can file a defamation suit but it has to be against the person who posted it. Once you have the defamatory judgment then the website may but still does not have to remove it but it appears that many do because it was determined me when I say I tried this with a major website... I had done my homework and knew they were immune but tried to appeal to the fact that their website works better when it remains free of defamatory or false or concocted information but they refused and quoted the law back to me that they were exempt from legal action...

    This is for general information only. Nothing in this information should be construed as creating an attorney-client relationship nor shall any of this information be construed as providing legal advice. Laws change over time and differ from state to state. These answers are based on California Law.Applicability of the legal principles discussed may differ substantially in individual situations. You should not act upon the information presented herein without consulting an attorney about your particular situation. No attorney-client relationship is established.

  3. I agree with Mr. Green. Websites enjoy tremendous protections legally and things like this are very difficult to remove. They will unleash their lawyers on you, so be prepared to shell out big bucks. Also, are you sure this isn't someone with the same name that lives in the same county/city? If you are able to sustain a lawsuit, what economic damages are you able to prove to the court with admissible evidence that you suffered as a direct and actual cause of this post? For the most part the law follows the basketball analogy "no harm, no foul".

    We do not have an attorney-client relationship. I am not your lawyer. The statements I have made do not constitute legal advice. Any statements I have made are based upon the very limited facts you have presented, and under the premise that you will consult with a local attorney. This is not an attempt to solicit business. This disclaimer is in addition to any disclaimers that this website has made. I am only licensed in California.

Civil rights topics

Top tips from attorneys

What others are asking

Can't find what you're looking for?

Post a free question on our public forum.

Ask a Question

- or -

Search for lawyers by reviews and ratings.

Find a Lawyer

Browse all legal topics