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Gossip Gone Wild

Talk about gossip out of control!

If you haven't been to the website Topix, you would be shocked at what your friends and neighbors might be saying about you or your children.

It has become 'the' place to say anything you want about anyone.

As Amber Philpott found out one mom and Magoffin County teacher says it's beyond hateful and should be criminal!

Small town gossip is nothing new, but now that gossip has left main street and gone to cyberspace.

With the click of a mouse and a few key strokes gossip warfare is being waged on a website that it seems no small town is immune from.

"I did know that it existed, but I had never been on it because I thought it was gossip and lies, said Kim Howard.

Howard a Magoffin County mother of two and school teacher says the website Topix is destroying her life.

"They are calling you a baby killer, they are saying you had an abortion," said Howard.

Those posts are something Howard says is simply not true.

Earlier this year she learned of similar posts that kept showing up on the website.

"It's lies and its destroying my life,"said Howard.

Howard claims the posts were unprovoked and went to Topix to have them removed, but the damage she says to her reputation was already done.

"Even though people says you can't pay no attention to what you read, some people believes that, some people think its true," said Howard.

The website claims to be an on-line source for news across the country.

It allows users to post comments in a forum, but in recent years the site has come under fire for being a place for users to make wild and false allegations about other people.

"These are everyday people like you and me, no one is immune," said Allison Martin, the Communications Director with the Kentucky Attorney General.

In Kentucky the complaints are piling up, Martin says just this year alone the office of the Attorney General has received 67.

Topix has become a hot button issue that the Attorney General is taking note of.

In 2010 Kentucky Attorney General Jack Conway along with 34 other Attorneys Generals went after Topix to get the website to eliminate its nearly $20 fee to have abusive comments removed.

"So that was a victory, but the deeper we delved into into it the more we found out there is actually a lot of protection for websites like this under the law," said Martin.

Protection that stops the Attorney General's office from being able to fully protect folks like Kim Howard.

Right now the Federal Decency Communications Act ties the hands of lawmakers wanting to do more.

The federal law protects sites like Topix from being sued for defamation, but Martin says the Attorney General's office will still fight on your behalf.

"It's a fine line in this new digital age that we are walking of free speech, but also protecting people and their family," said Martin.

As for Kim Howard she is hoping more people will come forward and push for change.

"You should not be allowed to harass, terrorize be-little somebody with your fingertips," said Howard.

The Attorney General's Office wants you to know that they are a resource for you.

You can contact their office If you have gone to Topix to get a post removed and you feel its taking too long or the site is not working with you.

The Attorney General's office can also put you in contact with the Kentucky Cyber Crimes Unit if you think you are the victim of terroristic threatening, cyber stalking or harassment on-line.

Below you will find a link and contact information for the Kentucky Office of the Attorney General. When you go to their website just look for the Cybersafety link.


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