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Agencies should consider whether it is desirable or otherwise appropriate to include a content disclaimer on their websites.
Whether to include a content disclaimer depends on a risk/benefit analysis, by reference to the kinds of content on the site, which takes into account:
- the risk of claims against the agency for content which may prove to be inaccurate; as against
- the potentially negative message that a content disclaimer may send to users of the site, bearing in mind that members of the public may reasonably expect a government agency to stand behind what it says online and that all-embracing disclaimers may detract from public trust and confidence in the agency concerned.
In some instances, it may be appropriate to include a limited disclaimer, one which only disclaims responsibility for third party content and/or data which the agency knows the public wants but which the agency has not been able to verify.
Where a disclaimer is included, it should state as a minimum that the information to which it relates is true and accurate to the best of the agency's knowledge (if that is the case) but that the agency cannot accept any liability for its accuracy or content.
If the agency has not considered the accuracy of the information (e.g., because it is user-generated content which the agency cannot reasonably be expected to check) then it should not say that the information is true and accurate to the best of its knowledge.
If it is required, the disclaimer statement, or a link to it, must be placed on the "About This Site" page.
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