Could news organizations face civil liability for voluntarily unmasking their anonymous online commenters? This article examines that nascent legal question through a discussion of contract law applied to a study of seven news Web sites' policies and practices. The study finds that although the news organizations claim that they zealously guard user privacy and will resist unmasking commenters under almost any circumstances, most of them have user agreements that would likely immunize them from civil liability for almost any reason. Are users getting a plain deal?
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