In 2018, PogoWasRight.org blogged about a case involving a young person’s complaint about IMDb refusing to remove a page about him that contained fraudulent information about him. The page had been created by his friend when they were young teenagers, and contained his real name and location but fake movie credits. When Kenny sought its removal, he was told that IMDb would not remove it as a matter of policy because it contained “accurate” and “factual” material. The fact that there was no such movie and he was not really a movie director didn’t seem to deter them from their absurd claims.
“Kenny’s” experience was mirrored by a number of other consumers, and so this site helped him file a complaint against IMDb with the FTC. Sadly, the Commission did nothing in response to the formal complaint, but happily for the teen, his state attorney general did help him. But the state attorney general’s action did not involve IMDb admitting any wrongdoing, and left IMDb free to continue what we believe are unfair, deceptive, and unlawful practices that harm consumers.
Since I first reported on Kenny’s case, PogoWasRight has been contacted by other people desperately seeking help with the same issue — IMDb’s obdurate refusal to remove fraudulent information about them. As a solo blogger with no funding and support for this site, I cannot really take on a lot of pro bono advocacy work. But today, PogoWasRight submitted another complaint to the FTC against IMDb — this time on behalf of two graduate students who have each spent more than one year futilely trying to get IMDb to remove fraudulent information about them — information that may negatively impact their employment chances and that they find personally embarrassing.
Once again, the complaint alleges that IMDb has violated Section 5 of the FTC Act. This time, it also alleges violations of the Fair Credit Reporting Act.
If any consumer protection agencies or privacy rights organizations would like to add their voices or companion complaints to ours, please email admin[at]pogowasright[dot]org and I can tell you more about the issues and the complaint.