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Sean Duffy  (Source: telegraph.co.uk)
Sean Duffy, of Reading, Berkshire, pleaded guilty to two charges associated with trolling social networking sites for a dead teenage girl

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 on it. 

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 used. 

"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 time."

Duffy never knew MacBryde or her family.



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This article is over a month old, voting and posting comments is disabled

By dguy6789 on 9/14/2011 2:23:27 PM , Rating: 2
The problem with the Internet as a whole is zero accountability. The Internet is not some fantasy land, it is real people interacting with real people. Real good things can come from it and real damage can be done. The sooner accountability for actions online reaches a parity with accountability for actions offline, the better. People should not be able to hide behind the veil of anonymity/the Internet when committing misdeeds. This is a step forward.


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