Facebook as a cyberbully tool

Will 2009 be the year the media exposes the “dark side” of Web 2.0?  With the Craigslist killer and Facebook bullies, it seems likely to happen.  Will it matter?  Probably not.  The Internet is our societal mirror.  If we don’t like what we see, what can we do?  Shutdown the Internet?

Case in point:

“In summer 2007, a music professor at BU was shocked to learn that he had a Facebook page — in his name, with a recent photo and a spot-on bio. But, the professor recalls, “embedded in the document were really scurrilous things that were reputed to have been said by me, and they were quite unpleasant and ugly and immature.”

The remarks provoked a steady stream of online rants and insults. The professor, who asked BU Today not to publish his name, had no idea how long the page had been up or what to do about it. He suspected a disgruntled former student — there had been a few over the years — but had no clue which one.

After many phone calls and sleepless nights, with the help of a friend’s daughter who knew someone at Facebook, the professor persuaded site administrators to remove the page. “It was incredibly anxiety-producing,” he recalls. “I didn’t know how long this would go on. You’re forced into the fairly lonely situation of going to see an attorney and facing the prospect of some kind of litigation.”


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