Social Crimes On-Line: How One Parent Attacked Libel Against His Son

December 21, 2007 by Lisa Oshima | Social Media

A couple of weeks ago, I got an email from a concerned dad regarding my post, “New MySpace Lawsuite Ignites More Questions: ‘Who is Responsible For Safety of Kids On-Line?’.”

One thing that is also going on and I think will get much much worse with time. People taking someone’s picture and pretending to be them. You can create a bad situation on many levels like that. My son is 13 and a neighbor kid put his picture on there with his name and zip code. He declared he was “gay and proud” and “horney as fuck#$”. This can be devastating to a 13 year old, or anyone else for that matter. I am on day four of trying to get it removed. Imagine if someone puts a picture of your child in front a predator and lures him in. A whole new way of creating crime and it wouldn’t be near as hard as one may think. We MUST come up with a system to handle this and MySpace has to respond to problems much fast than they do. Four days + is just ridiculous.

Troy’s email points to the downside of the self-policing society we’ve created on-line.  For the most part, “self policing’ seems to work. Take Wikipedia as an example… Remember the post I wrote on Sinbad’s reported death and re-birth?!  But, what if you’re a 13 year old kid that’s being bullied, and the false information is being written about you?  Enduring even 24 hours of torment caused by libelous comments written about you must be a misery.  And, if you’re 13 and being bullied, unlike Sinbad, it’s doubtful you’ll have a group of people (besides your family) willing to stand up to defend you.

I’m happy to report that I heard back from Troy this morning.  After 2 weeks of trying (no doubt very hard), he finally had the libelous comments about his son removed from MySpace… And, he only had to contact the (gasp) FBI!

I finally have an update. In short, the post has been removed and it took just under 2 weeks to get done. After numerous emails to MySpace and lack of enthusiasm in local law enforcement I contacted the FBI branch that deals with internet crimes. Within 24 hours of sending the FBI an email MySpace suddenly took an interest in my situation. I am not 100% on if the FBI helped or not but I expect they did, probably with a simple email. My advice to someone in this situation, stay persistent and don’t give up/educate yourself to applicable policy at the website your having trouble with.  And don’t be afraid to use this website: ic3.gov.

I find it sad that it takes a note to the FBI to get this sort of thing sorted.  I agree with Troy.  There needs to be a better system in place to counteract libel on-line and to handle complaints of identity theft or photo mis-use on large social networking properties (especially where 13 year olds are concerned).

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  • [this is good]
    (something similar in general)We as netizens really don't realize how much of an effect we have on the little stupid things we do when we write hurtful things on the net. I guess some ppl feel its okay, no big deal, because it's the internet and what we say doesn't matter and can't have any affect on the actual ppl your talking badly about lives. Yes, it's your opinion and you have every right to voice it, but do you realize the extent your has? ppl have commited suicide due to the things that were said about them on the net. Some may find it really hard to believe, but things like it happen. We should start thinking about what we say(post) on the net before we say(post) it. What you write does affect.

  • Amaya Joy

    Thats funny. Wikipedia should have something indicating when news has been verified in some fasihon.

    I was just on TBN in the audience last night and Sinbad was on the show. He is so hilarious!






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