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Arizona cannot sue for an anonymous Instagram account

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The Arizona Regency Council cannot continue the lawsuit against the owner of an anonymous Instagram account that posted content about COVID-19 parties at the University of Arizona, which officials said could be mistaken for official university reports.

The lawsuit was dismissed by a lower court last year, a decision upheld on Friday by the Ninth District Court of Appeal.

In filing a lawsuit and appeal, the Board of Regents stated trademark infringement.

The Instagram account in question, known as asu_covid.parties, contained allegations beginning in 2020 that COVID-19 was a hoax. It also promoted a party where the controversial hydroxychloroquine drug – an unproven cure for coronavirus – allegedly distributed and posted messages comparing Arizona leaderships to Nazis, according to the materials. Arizona Daily Star.

A panel of three judges said it was unreasonable to believe that such posts would come from ASU.

Officials argued that the use of the ASU logo and colors could be interpreted as official messages from the university, prompting them to sue John Doe and Facebook, which owns Instagram. Facebook was later excluded from the lawsuit after it took steps to remove the page and ban the creator.

“With respect to all [the Arizona Board of Regents’] claims, the amendment would be hopeless, given the falsity of the allegations and the conclusions about the likelihood of confusion, ”the judges wrote in their decision. “Of the eighteen Dow posts included on the Instagram page, only one post involved the use of the ABR sign and trade clothing. The fact that one post contained obscene language and a smart consumer would not think that the university would use such vocabulary when addressing the public. Reviewing the messages as a whole does not change the result, but on the contrary, confirms it. “

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