Alleged Bullies Sued Over Racist and Obscene Fake Facebook Profile
One of the new avenues for bullying is impersonation via social networking sites. But four teens in Cook County, Illinois may have gone a little too far in alleged attacks on a high school athlete. They are now finding themselves defendants in a lawsuit that could have dire financial consequences for both them and their families. The four boys, identified only by their initials -- R.C., A.G., K.Z., and M.S. -- are being sued on five separate counts, including defamation and emotional distress, by the victim and his mother.
According to the suit, the boys created a fake Facebook account for the student (who is identified only as John Doe), using not only his real name, but also his cell number and numerous photos. The fake was convincing enough that the four alleged cyber-bullies managed to amass over 580 friends. The lawsuit claims that the bullies posted many sexuality explicit and obscenity-laced comments, as well as status updates claiming that the victim was gay. The account also reportedly displayed racially charged statements, such as, "obamas pretty cool...but hes black sooo..."
According to the suit, the profile had many real life consequences for the boy and his family. At least one college recruiter allegedly had concerns about accepting him, solely based on the profile. The page allegedly caused so much controversy that John Doe and his siblings had to change athletic clubs and were alienated by many of their friends.
The profile has since been removed, but it took quite a bit of work for the family to convince Facebook to do so.
Last month, we saw the first conviction and jailing of a cyber-bully in the U.K. Combined with this lawsuit, and the court-ordered unmasking of the 'Skanks in NYC' blogger, all signs are pointing to an end of the free ride for the cyber-bully. [From: Chicago Now, Mashable and Ars Technica]