Legal liability of forum operators in the UK
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As the forum operator, am I liable for the comments posted on my website authored by third-parties?
The first question clients who set up a new website with a discussion forum or a review site ask is usually regarding their liability. Despite stringent UK laws, as a general rule, forum operators are not liable for the comments posted by users on their website.
These internet fora are often places where third-party comments are disseminated and operators are normally unaware, and cannot feasibly be aware, of contentious comments without notification. Generally, there is no strict liability on website operators to either monitor or review comments posted on their website by third parties. UK law expressly provides a defence to operators of interactive websites when an action for defamation is brought against the operator of a forum or a website in respect of a statement posted on their website. Whilst this can provide peace of mind, we recommend taking legal advice in relation to the individual circumstances as each case might present different challenges. We believe it is a good idea for operators of websites to know their rights and obligations as this will inevitably allow you, as a forum or a review website operator, to operate your business more smoothly and cost effectively.