Skip to comments.Teens Arrested Over Facebook Prank
Posted on 01/14/2011 11:21:05 AM PST by markomalley
Two teenage girls in Florida are facing serious criminal charges for a Facebook prank they played on a classmate. The girls, aged 15 and 16, created a fake Facebook profile in the name of another studenta girl they were no longer friends withand added photos doctored to make it look like their victim was engaged in sexually explicit acts, the Marco Eagle reports.
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The kids created an offensive parody. They, from what I can discern in the story, did not attempt to userp the "victim's" identity for personal gain. It was satire. Mean satire, but satire nonetheless.
The First Amendment gives Americans the right to be offensive, and in fact to offend specific people. When we start criminalizing that offense, we might as well start shredding the Constitution.
Civil suit slander/libel.
Yes, the same kind that has driven other children to suicide. We could not disagree more.
Teachers have been fired for saucy online postings.
This kid could be applying for jobs one day and getting turned down for jobs because of what prospective employers find on the internet.
Definite lawsuit material. If it were me, I’d also sue to have the web-page data and archived versions deleted.
Remember this story next time some lib wants to argue about how pop culture, the internet, rap music, and all the rest hasn’t had much impact.
These are GIRLS! It’s impossible to even imagine teenage girls of 20-30-40 years ago creating homemade porn. We are losing the culture war, I’m afraid.
1) The victim is underage. The perps are lucky that they aren’t facing child-porn charges.
2) If I understood the story correctly, the perps did not parody the victim - the page created was represented as belonging to the victim. Fraud does not have 1st Amendment protection.
Apparently. If you wish to criminalize "mean speech" because the meanness of the of the speech might make someone do something untoward - either to themselves or to others, then yes, we could not disagree more.
Substitute "Rush Limbaugh" for "kids" - Rush Limbaugh's mean where website he hosts "mean, homophobic" parodies, made a gay student kill himself. Limbaugh has been charged with cyberbullying.
When can't limit one person's free speech rights because someone might be so offended by the exercise of those rights that they're incited to kill themselves, or even others.
Ummmm.... At the very least, this little stunt qualifies as defamation (either libel or slander, probably the latter).
Perhaps you're right that it's not a criminal matter....
But a hefty judgment in a civil lawsuit certainly seems to be in order.
By posting the material they did they were slandering/libeling her.
I don’t think it should be viewed as “First Amendment Rights.”
Glad to see that someone understands the issue here - free speech.
I also don’t understand how creating a fake profile on a free internet website amounts to fraud when it isn’t done for any financial or material gain.
Rush Limbaugh plays parodies created by someone else.
Those parodies are of public figures.
They are also “advertised” as parodies, not a true exposition created by the one being parodied.
Question: Does Rush Limbaugh enter into legal agreements claiming to be another person?
Question: Does Rush Limbaugh admit that his parodies are parodies; instead of presenting them to be true and factual accounts?
Question: Does Rush Limbaugh create pornographic material and claim that those he is against were involved therein?
Your analogy fails.
First, I don't believe it is fraud. But, argumentum, let's say you're right. Then, charge them with fraud, not "cyberbullying" whatever the hell that is.
"By posting the material they did they were slandering/libeling her."
Terrific. It sounds like a great civil case to be brought. But, in this country, we don't litigate slander/libel suits in criminal court, do we? The Founders had a reason for that. Under King George, slander/libel cases WERE litigated criminally, at least those against the crown.
I don't see the relevance of the age. Enlighten me.
With respect to your "child porn" assertion, the Supreme Court in Ashcroft v. Free Speech Coalition, 535 U.S. 234 (2002), struck down provisions of the Child Pornography Prevention Act of 1996 that dealt with "virtual pornography", which is what is alleged in this case. There is no risk of a "child porn" charge, here.
Apparently you think the protections against libel and slander that the founders considered necessary for civil society are outmoded.
I disagree with your personal assertion that the founders were idiots and that they did not know what they were doing. They did know, and they were far brighter than you are.
Also, does this not come under "right to privacy"? Doesn't posting photos of living persons - unless of public figures - require permission of the subject?
The teens should face child porn charges.
The fake account racked up 181 "friends" and the victim was "subjected to numerous incidents of teasing and ridicule for an ongoing period of time as a result," a school official says. The girls have been charged with aggravated stalking of a minor under 16 and have been ordered to have 21 days home detention before a hearing next month.
So it apparently crossed the line from parody to a situation with actual consequences for her reputation. And the girls apparently kept up their activities for some time.
It might even qualify as reckless endangerment -- one can easily imagine some mouth-breather taking this parody as permission to have his way with the "nasty girl" from the Facebook page.
It's a tough one ... but I think they crossed the line.
You can’t fix stupid.
Throw the book at ‘em.
This has nothing to do with “free speech”.
Pornography is NOT free speech.
Obscenity is NOT free speech.
The free speech in the first amendment is *POLITICAL* free speech.
The communists promote pornography as free speech and decry political speech as hate speech.
That was *NOT* the intent of the 1st Amendment, and there are those among the Founders who would probably challenge you to a duel for saying so, were they alive today.
Only in your mind. Again, fraud isn't was is belong alleged here - "cyberbullying" and stalking is. If it's fraudulent, the charge them with fraud. It isn't fraudulent because there alleged perpetrators have not enriched themselves or benefited in any way. A basic understanding of criminal law, might be helpful here.
Perhaps Facebook could file a civil suit for fraudulent infringement, but that would be ENTIRELY up to Facebook. It would not be a criminal allegation, but a civil allegation.
Yes, we have protections against libel and slander. Those protections are found in CIVIL law, not criminal law.
"I disagree with your personal assertion that the founders were idiots and that they did not know what they were doing. "
I have no idea how you came up with that little nugget. Where do I assert the founders were idiots?
>Glad to see that someone understands the issue here - free speech.
Actually the issue is criminal activity, not free speech.
>I also dont understand how creating a fake profile on a free internet website amounts to fraud when it isnt done for any financial or material gain.
From the Terms of Service:
4. Registration and Account Security
— Facebook users provide their real names and information, and we need your help to keep it that way. Here are some commitments you make to us relating to registering and maintaining the security of your account:
—— 1. You will not provide any false personal information on Facebook, or create an account for anyone other than yourself without permission.
5. Protecting Other People’s Rights
— We respect other people’s rights, and expect you to do the same.
—— 1. You will not post content or take any action on Facebook that infringes or violates someone else’s rights or otherwise violates the law.
Clearly multiple violations of a legal contract.
“It was satire.”
It was fraud and libel
“But, in this country, we don’t litigate slander/libel suits in criminal court, do we?”
See post 23, the creators of the ‘parody’ were in-fact in breach of contract.
Those terms of service, are they between a website and an individual signing up, or between the law of the land, and the individual?
I might be butchering that phrase but basically free speech carries with it some responsibility. That is why we have civil proceedings for things such as slander and defamation of character and I think that kind of legal action is applicable here.
You must be a liberal who never listens to Rush.
He does not do what you say.
They weren't charged with fraud, were they? There's a legal reason for that. Generally, for someone to be convicted of fraud, they must have attempted to enrich themselves with the fraud. Furthermore, Libel is NOT a criminal action, but a civil action.
It's puzzling how people who are posting on a website called "Free Republic" could be so plainly obtuse about the differences between criminal and civil legal violations.
Please, tell me how many people we have in prison for slander and libel.
“It was fraud and libel”
Agreed, I would even say it might even fall into the category of identity theft.
Those particular ones are between the website and the person[s] signing up.
But that does not rule-out the possibility of the the law “between the law of the land and the individual” (as you put it) being violated.
Terrific. How many people are in America's prisons for "breach of contract"? I'll wait.
“Only in your mind.”
You really need to do more research.
In Florida, what the kids did was a criminal offence under the stalker laws.
The first amendment does not give anyone the right to do anything, anytime, anywhere, as some apparently think.
If so, someone could justify murder in that they were just exercising their first amendment rights to express their displeasure w/the victim.
Reference on Florida law below.
Misdemeanor or First Degree
Misdemeanor stalking is intentionally following, calling or using the Internet to harass another person. Under Florida law, misdemeanor stalking involves the intent to cause distress, but not necessarily to do bodily harm. The maximum punishment for misdemeanor stalking in Florida is a jail sentence of one year, plus fines that start at $1,000.
Oh, good one, I hadn’t thought of that.
Of course now you’re going to get people saying “it couldn’t be identity theft because the person has to be trying to enrich themselves [so it must be free speech].”...
Thanks for finding that.
So, when does the violation of a private agreement between two individual entities force the legal system to intervene? Is Facebook granted powers beyond denial of service, for a violation of those privately-agreed, non-notarised terms of service?
What part of "hopefully won't survive a facial challenge on 1A grounds" don't you understand, sport?
I'm well aware of the what the FL statute says. I passed the Florida bar - on the first try, no less. How about you?
See post 34 by fruser1.
Is it possible that the Floridan law is in violation of the First Amendment?
Have you impressed yourself yet with your bloated, contrarian horse manure?
Do some homework. There are limits to “free speech”, and whether or not the “alleged perpetrators ... enriched themselves or benefited in any way” requires an assumption on your part. Or maybe you think it’s fine and legal for somebody to point a gun at your head as long as they don’t pull the trigger?
The meanest creatures on the planet are teenage girls.
“I passed the Florida bar - on the first try, no less. How about you?”
No I have not.
Nevertheless I don’t believe you are a lawyer.
If you are a lawyer it should be very easy for you to post a Lexis Nexis link (or content of that link if not accessible to outside world) to a case tried on the Florida statute above dismissed on the grounds you claim.
Please provide or at least a link to a comparable case.
>Is it possible that the Floridan law is in violation of the First Amendment?
The First amendment says:
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press, or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
Now, as written, it prohibits CONGRESS from certain actions. To apply this against the states would have no effect unless that state had a ‘Congress;’ unless you changed the word ‘congress’ to mean ‘legislature.’
Isn't that the effect of any great parody? You don't think Tina Fey's parody of Sarah Palin had "actual consequences" for her [Palin's] reputation? Of course it did.
As you might have guess, I'm not a fan - at all - of these cyber-bullying laws. They are at least tangential to the case in Tuscon. We cannot limit speech, to include mean-spirited or satirical speech because it might compel a crazy person to do something untoward.
If a teenager kills themselves, it's not because someone was mean to them. It's because they don't have basic social coping skills to deal with the obstacles of life - like verbal bullies.
When we start to define any antagonistic speech as bullying or stalking, and then criminalize it, we are infringing on rights that shouldn't be infringed. If the girls libeled the teen, then that teen should seek remedy with the civil court, not the criminal court.
You can’t holler “fire” in a crowded theater. You can’t post doctored pornographic photos of someone online; that definitely could affect their ability to earn livelihood in the future and is libelous. - Of course, it could drive someone to suicide, and that ain’t nice. If your daughter were driven to suicide by these “mean girls”, you’d be mad.
So, technically, from that argument, a state legislature could pass a law that could bar people from establishing or practising a religion, bar people from making any comment that criticises the state government, and bar people from assembling, as long as the state legislature, and not Congress, has passed that law?
Oh good grief. The First Amendment was, by virtue of the 14th Amendment, fully incorporated into the states in a series of Supreme Court case throughout the 20th century.
“You don’t think Tina Fey’s parody of Sarah Palin had “actual consequences””
But you still knew it was a parody.
If Tina Fey and and a reporter collaborated to do a fake interview where Tina was presented as the actual Sarah, there would be civil charges at a minimum.
Criminal charges depend on the state in which it occurs.
Thanks. I was waiting for that, actually.