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).