A UK man
has been jailed for 18 weeks after trolling pages set up on social networks for girls who have died.
Sean Duffy, of Reading, Berkshire, posted negative comments on social
networking site pages in remembrance of girls who
have died, such as Worcester teenager Natasha MacBryde who killed herself by
throwing her body under a train due to bullying reports the BBC.
Duffy targeted the bereaved relatives of the deceased, which were people he did
not know. Duffy would send hurtful emails or post provocative posts on sites
like Facebook and YouTube in hopes of prompting emotionally loaded responses.
In MacBryde's case, he called her a "slut" in one of his posts. He
also posted a video on YouTube called "Tasha the Tank Engine," which
depicted the children's character Thomas the Tank Engine with MacBryde's face
Duffy pleaded guilty on two counts of sending a communication of an offensive
or indecent nature. The charges were related to the Facebook and YouTube posts
about MacBryde. Duffy has been jailed for 18 weeks.
The case places a spotlight on cyberbullying
and trolling, which have become increasingly problematic in recent years as
social networks and other electronic communication mediums become more widely
"People feel protected
by anonymity and the true nature of
people comes to the fore," said Fevzi Turkalp, a technology expert from
gadgetdetective.com. "Someone will go onto an Apple website and say
something derogatory about Apple, knowing full well people on there will be
fans of Apple, in order to provoke a response."
"Misuse of Internet sites can destroy teachers' confidence and professional
reputation and provide yet another vehicle for false allegations against
staff," added Chris Keates, General Security of the NASUWT teacher's union.
"New cases of abuse, harassment and humiliation are emerging all the
Duffy never knew MacBryde or her family.
quote: Just because somebody hurts your feelings doesn't mean they did anything wrong.
quote: Duffy targeted the bereaved relatives of the deceased, which were people he did not know
quote: I am sure that a parent, a teacher, a neighbor, a counselor, a boss, a co-worker, or anyone else that knows him personally would have already pursued this.
quote: The guy's probably just an a$$hole
quote: Somebody across the internet with hurt feelings is in no position to make this kind of call.
quote: Don't feed the trolls.
quote: f it's really that painful, then don't read anything from them
quote: . I'll bet if he did, he would get the crap beaten out of him.
quote: Who gets to decide what is offensive? This law allows the government to jail anyone that is saying things they don't like
quote: Everyone has the right to be a douche, but what this guy was doing goes well beyond that.
quote: With great freedom comes great responsibility.
quote: If they can jail someone for being an asshole on the internet, what can't they jail them for?
quote: Who gets to decide what is offensive?
quote: The person who receives his unsolicited email about a deceased teen relative gets to decide if it is offensive.
quote: In a country with state-run media, CCTV cameras on every street corner and laws against communicating 'offensively', these guys are one bad election away from 1984.