Binks Is Here

Commentary on the World

Keep Myspace Safe From Parents

Its a bit of an older story, but it just got a new twist.

Basically, Girl A was saying things about Girl B.

Girl B’s mom created a myspace account in the guise of a 16 year old boy, who took an interest in girl A. After that mom figured out what Girl A was saying about her daughter, she (in the role of this 16 year old boy) said lots of horrible things to make Girl A feel bad.

Girl A then committed suicide.

Girl A’s dad, somehow (not really clear) broke Mom B’s foosball table. Mom B files criminal charges against Girl A’s dad (So, just to be clear, his daughter commits suicide largely because of what this woman did, and then after he smashes a foosball table out of anger and grief, HE gets charged. Mom B has not yet been charged.)

In order to protect the identity of the girl who committed suicide (Girl A…), newspapers didn’t publish the name of the woman who did all this (Mom B).

An enterprising local then managed to determine Mom A’s identity Mom B’s identity, and posted it online.

The internet being what it is, within a few hours/days dozens and dozens of facts about this woman, her husband, her business, and her clients were all over the internet. Looks like there’s a bit of a mob backlash here.

The wired article goes over some of the basics of this event, and then talks about internet justice in general; it’s pretty interesting.

I’m not sure how I feel about all this - on the one hand, so long as it’s non-violent, people should probably be able to register their feelings on this issue but it seems to be the nature of society today that some events touch vast numbers of people. The biggest problem here seems to be one of scale more than one of ethics. In the good old days, if something non-criminal but generally pretty bad happened in a community, people could make their views felt by shunning or avoiding the individual, writing editorials in the paper, things like that. The nature of the news media and the internet, however, is global - so what might be a few people mad at you in your hometown or neighbourhood has shifted to having half the internet mad at you. And for the people on the internet, they know they’ll never get caught, so there’s nothing acting to censor their behavior.

I’m just not generally a fan of anything that looks like vigilante justice, and this definitely looks like the mob is trying to take things into its own hands.

This woman better go to ground for a while - ditch cell phones, land line, email, all that; just go off the grid for a while until this thing dies down.

–Apologies for anything unclear… it’s been a long month… I might look at this again with fresh eyes later, as it seems as though I probably contradict myself a few times in the last 2-3 paragraphs…

I would be interested to hear your views on the issue though (That’s right! YOU!)