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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 lolmuly on 9/14/2011 5:05:28 PM , Rating: 1
even slander/defamation is a joke. Those terms are so broad that they could conceivably cover anything, and why should anyone be allowed to sue over internet speech?

If something offends you, stay away from it. If someone attacks you, defend yourself with your own words, not a lawyer's. If your online identity gets completely destroyed, so what? Create a new identity and start again.

Plain and simple, people don't have the right to have their personal honor defended by the law. With as far as the internet reaches, and the very depth/scope of the information out there, pretending that it's possible to police it is ludicrous.


"We basically took a look at this situation and said, this is bullshit." -- Newegg Chief Legal Officer Lee Cheng's take on patent troll Soverain

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