Cyberbullying on Facebook


A teenager from New York has filed a lawsuit against Facebook, four high-school classmates who used the site to harass her, and their parents.  Specifically, two boys and two girls created a Facebook group called password-protected “90 Cents Short Of A Dollar,” in order to “hold [her] up to public hatred, ridicule and disgrace.”  Content service providers are not liable for statements posted within their site by users because of the Communications Decency Act, and so I don’t believe Facebook will be required to do anything.  This case does, however, once again demonstrate how civil actions can be filed in order to at least send a message to individuals that victims will not take cyberbullying lying down.  Nationwide, it may also prompt more litigation in the same vein, and has led to some of the first media attention we’ve seen covering Facebook-based harassment.  Do you think this case has any leg to stand on?  What if the victim was able to demonstrate severe emotional and psychological harm?  If that were the case, should the law be amended to require content service providers to police the postings of their users?  These questions tend to surface in many cyberbullying cases, and this one gives us another chance to talk it out….


  1. I think the internet, and what you write on it, should be governed by the same laws as slander and libel. Because the internet is a place of wide-spread publication, there is no reason to dismiss what is said on the internet, specifically if is a false/vicious remark about another person. The folks that hide behind the 1st amendment are the same ones that don’t teach their kids how to play nice in the sandbox, which is how we’ve reached the current state of affairs we are in regarding the matter. If parents were more forceful and saw what their kids were doing online and how they were treating others, maybe they could step in and stop it. But then again, if the parents of the bullies know what is happening and simply don’t care because their child is not the ‘victim,’ well, that’s just a sucky society.


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  2. Even though I have been doing some reading on this sort of topic, I am still in shock. I just don't understand what can drive a young person to torture another classmate. I do think service providers should be held and hold people to a certain level on what they post. People will say anything online but those things said will never be said outloud, the internet creates almost a safe haven for people to speak there minds with no punishment.

  3. Well I have read some of the comments posted here and I must say that I disagree. To the woman who had things from her Myspace stolen I ask, why not delete these people from your friends list if they were not your friends? And kathy marie, to you I ask, why is it ok for you to state your opinion right now but it is not ok for others to do the same? You can criticize people's parenting but you when others attempt to criticize you it is then rude and now illegal? Sounds to me like a double standard put in place to find a victim, and we all know how much America loves to see victims.

  4. I agree with John. If you cant take getting called a few names or whatever then you should just block the people who call you names or just dont have an account

  5. The things people do to each other are pathetic. The actions stemming from the blackest depths of the human soul are uncalled for, and purely selfish. Take comfort, my friends who've been victimized, in the thought that these people will end up lonely and alone in their world of self-centered pleasure. But also recognize that we are all guilty of the kind of pleasure that they get from tormenting you. The pleasure you get from someone else's displeasure is readily available in every aspect of life. The only difference between ourselves and animals is that we have the ability to ignore our "programming". We can choose to be nice to each other. It is those people who want to incite war that are stopping us from evolving into our cooperative collective. KenS: These bullies are the product of a lack of parenting. Parents that don't do anything and consistently expose their children to unhealthy, violent situations create monsters that screw up society. We need to accept that some of our kind are in fact a disease to our own race. I'm sure to anyone viewing our species from the outside would want to do away with us because of these foolish humans who don't care and who are sadly the majority of us. Kathy Marie: You are correct. The internet provides a barrier between the aggressor and their victim which allows them to face no immediate guilt or consequence of their actions. It only proves they are cowardly and should be stated as such. John Johnson:Have you ever heard of the term "Frenemy"? Basically–though I haven't actually looked the definition up myself–its someone who pretends to be your friend when really they are attempting to gain your trust so they can hurt you. It is possible this person did not know they were her enemies. Do not give advice unless you know the entirety of the story. There is an extreme difference between civilly stating an opinion, as Kathy is clearly doing here, and flaming someone to death. First of all if these victims, and they are in fact victims, had asked for any ones opinion you might be obliged to state it, but until asked they should keep their thoughts to themselves. John and Mike: You both must be completely ignorant and uncaring and as logical as you are attempting to sound, John, your logic is flawed. We have all been taught what right and wrong is. It doesn't necessarily even have to be taught you just know. You know when something is wrong. In actuality, no one has the right to criticize someone else unless the person they are targeting has done things that warrant it. Reasons that a person can't help are never a good target for criticism because it says more about the person targeting them than the actual target (for instance that they are ignorant, cowardly, and an embarrassment to our species). The the case of Lauren Newby, I was disgusted and embarrassed to be the same species as the person(s) that terrorized her. No one deserves that mistreatment.

  6. WOW, i know exactly how you guys feel. i get the worst honesty box messages. and people create horrible groups that people join because they arent sure what it is. and it to all the people that hate me. and it drives me insane!

  7. I am a bothered by the comment that was posted stating, "that if you can't take getting called a few names or whatever then just block".

    The point is that the you can't always block what or who is posting online. Knowing that there is terrible and often times false information being published, with the intent to hurt, is an awful feeling. The internet is a place that people all over the world access, and when discriminating things are posted you never know just how many people have or will see. It has a very strong emotional effect on people and I do not feel that telling someone to get over it is the right thing to say.

    We are a very technologically savy world and the ways in which people are abusing those technologies is appalling. We need to be aware that this truly is a problem and that we need to support those who have been violated online.

  8. I signed up to website that I need for specialist answers. After setting out my question, the first answer was something like 'You are a pathetic pr*ck'. I ignored that and got a couple of useful answers so I persevered. I noticed after a while that the same 4 middle aged women were following me from forum to forum and leaping in and saying I was condecending or sexist or a troll – all sorts of accusations. I made the mistake of challenging them and saying it was unfair. I didnt swear back at them but I put up a spirited defence and it got heated. Eventually the site administrator (The boss) got involved and said that I hadnt been offensive to her or anyone but I should move to an 'anything goes forum' if my subject was controversial. (It wasnt)

    I dont like swearing and name calling so I didnt go that 'anything goes forum' and it all calmed down. Then I was lulled back in and had a good enjoyable day discussing technical stuff with various members. Then 24 hours later the 4 women descended into a forum on machine gun triggers – something they were not interested in I am sure – together taking turns, using abuse and name calling and backed each other up.

    One other member cried foul and was sent a personal nessage to invite her to join the others in beating on me.

    Eventully one of the women who was a 'moderator' !!! on the site (2 of them were actually moderators)said I had a personality problem, I was mentally ill, I had no friends and my neighbours hated me.

    The site rules say that nobody can criticise or even mention moderators so there was no way to complain

    I was really upset at all this and thought of just packing it in – but I have decided to stay and calmly point out what they are doing so that future members might be spared. I wont spend much time there though as it is wearing. I have checked to make sure it isnt just me and it isnt – they hunt other people, usually older males, and they all turn up at once in a forum and attack as a group – sometimes taking over the thread and talking about baking or something.

    If these are moderators, what chance does someone have ? I am 61 – imagine a young teenager getting involved in all that stuff – it would wreck their schoolwork and depress them and perhaps worse

  9. The astounding power of Facebook is that in a blink it can engage so many strangers to harass a person he/she doesn't even know … just for the fun of it!! So that that person all the sudden finds him or herself surrounded (literally, everyone in the neighborhood, school, workplace, places frequented, can’t escape it, people known, people unknown to the person) by people in on the harassment "fun". Using Facebook in combination with organized SMS and twitter networks to scapegoat a person makes it possible to be especially “clever” and strategic, doubling the “fun”. And gets even more people engrossed in the mob "fun". Thank you Facebook and Twitter for elevating our society and giving losers such a redeeming way of injecting some "fun" into their lives and feeling good about themselves!! Especially “fun” to do to women … but also “fun” to do to men!

  10. I read this article which featured the problems associated with Facebook. The article spoke of a website called Bunbury Shame, this site allows young people to anonymously post comments about their peers. The worst part of this website is that the main purpose of it is to allow teens to spreading gossip about each other anonymously. According to Shanelle Miller, The comments that are posted on the website are typically offensive attacks about the appearance and reputation of local teenagers. Since Bunbury is linked to FaceBook any with a FaceBook account can view and post comments on Bunbury. The disturbing part of this about this website is the fact that facebook is link to it.

  11. In this 21st century society, social networking has become an instant success among teens. Internet based communities, or social networks, such as Myspace and Facebook have become a primary method of socializing for teens. A social network is a means for individuals to connect within interlining network of friends. Facebook has grown Although the premise of social networks are harmless, several dangers can arise from the misuse and abuse of the site.

    One major concern is cyberbulluing. Many youth tend to be more free-willed on social networks. Teens often feel more comfortable disclosing personal information on social networks and this often makes them vulnerable to cyberbullying. Some of these details can serve a bedding ground for the spreading of rumors, malicious anonymous commenting, and identity theft. Anonymity on Facebook and other social networking sites gives bullies an added disinhibition that may not have in real world situations. This disinhibition sometimes leads bullies to expressing more malicious behaviors that they may not have done in face to face situations. Additionally, cyberbullies do not suffer the immediate repercussions that they would if they were to bully someone in real life situations.

  12. With cyberbullying as prevalent as ever, the first free online app for Hispanic parents to monitor their teens’ activity on Facebook—in Spanish or in English—is now available, in sync with National Bullying Prevention Month. It’s called GoGoStat Parental Guidance Spanish Edition and it’s an update to the English language version.

    The need for a tool to help Hispanic parents is clear. Almost 16% of the U.S. population is Hispanic and the typical U.S. Hispanic family has on average 2.16 children in the household under 18. Facebook estimates that 9% of the social network’s U.S. members are Latino (Sources: US Census Bureau and Hispanic Magazine).

    GoGoStat Parental Guidance Spanish Edition, created by former Microsoft employees, identifies risky behavior and provides information for parents to share with their children. Parental Guidance alerts parents so they can act quickly, notifying them when pre-established ‘family ground rules’ are violated, inappropriate text is posted, new contacts are made, or photos of their children are uploaded. Parental Guidance detects if the user’s browser is set to Spanish rather than English, and then automatically displays instructions, settings and reports in Spanish.

    My first language is Spanish and many times I do not understand the English slang .The challenge for us is unique if our teens are bilingual, yet they are using English online with friends. I think that Hispanic parents need to keep their teens safe on social media and enabling them to monitor activity as easily as possible. They can use this tool to guide their teens on making the right decisions while posting to social networks and be alerted to new status messages containing unsafe or potentially offensive comments.

  13. I know how you feel. I am a victim of this victimisation. It has damaged my life and damaged my mothers business. my brother has been affected too. I belive I no longer have privarcy in my life and on the internet, as they spreed this information globally.

    Even my friends and wider family look at me in a different light. I am the victim.

  14. I do believe we should have constraints on FB.. Some are totally abusing their power on the FAN pages with numbers exceeding 10k on some.. and when they attack, they attack in numbers a lot larger than just one who may stick around to defend themselves. I would not recommend doing that however there are thousands that sit and witness such abuse and DO NOTHING.. maybe they are afraid to say something for fear of getting attacked as well.. I am speaking from experience.. This is far bigger than just a few of us can even consider handling.. So My expectation is for the LAW to step up to the plate and Protect and Serve the people. We should not be harassed, bullied or stalked on the net.. It truly has grown out of proportion.

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