Speaking of MySpace
NPR’s All Things Considered had this tragic story tonight about the case of Megan Meier, a 13-year-old girl who hung herself in her closet after receiving bullying messages over MySpace. Part of this deeply sad case is that the cyberbully was in fact the 48-year-old mother – not the teenage boy she was pretending to be – of one of Meier’s schoolmates. The woman was seeking revenge after Meier bullied her own daughter.
Meier’s mother is prosecuting the offenders and the case is winding its way through the courts. The problem prosecutors are having is determining what law, if any, the offenders broke.
One of the problems with sites like MySpace, and the Internet in general, is that there’s no filter in place that forces people to reveal their real identities. That allows for lots of poor and occasionally dangerous behavior. The question is: how much responsibility does MySpace bear to police its site? I would argue quite a bit. Unfortunately, people cannot be trusted to police themselves.