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January 18, 2007

MySpace Sued By Idiot Mothers

Filed under: Main — Ryan Jones @ 1:51 pm

Wired Reports that four families are suing MySpace after their underage daughters met up with men who sexually abused them.  I’m not an advocate of abusing underage (or normal aged) girls, but is MySpace really to blame?

In one of the cases, the girl was 14 or 15, and the boy was only 19.  The MySpace suit is based on the fact that his profile said he was a senior in high school and he wasn’t.

Is it the responsibility of a website to monitor what it’s users do in real life?  In all of these cases the accused had no past criminal records, weren’t on the sex offender list, and didn’t have suspicious profiles (like a 40 year old who has a million 15 year old friends.)  How is MySpace responsible for this?

The communications decency act of 1994 basically rules that content providers aren’t responsible for their users content – the users are.  I think this holds true here.  Sure they may have met on MySpace, but does that make MySpace liable for what they do afterwards?

In all of these cases, the girls voluntarily met up with their attackers.  In many of them, the attackers didn’t lie about their ages.  That’s right: these girls knew they were meeting up with older men.  Seems to me that’s the root of the problem right there. 

If these cases succeed, shouldn’t gun companies be liable for all gun related deaths?  Do we hold websites responsible if somebody steals your credit card and uses it there?  Is Toyota responsible for not preventing your auto accident?  How about holding mothers responsible for letting their underage daughters on the internet unsupervised to arrange meetings with older men?  I think that’d be a good law too.


  1. If a social networking website is a means of communication no different than say a phone call or a face-to-face meeting then should we expect the phone companies which handled the phone calls that these girls had with these older men to be named in the suit? What about the mall management where they met? If it’s possible to hold the first line of communication responsible what about the second and third line and so forth? Where does it end?

    For once I would love to see the parents named in a lawsuit. Where were they when their kids were online? Why weren’t they monitoring their children’s computer activity? And if the parents are responsible for dropping their daughters off to meet with these men are they not just as responsible for facilitating this as much as MySpace, AT&T and Mall of America?

    I could go on but these parents make me sick.

    Comment by Ed Knittel — January 18, 2007 @ 2:15 pm

  2. Great point Ed… WIth all the examples I listed, how could I forget something as simple as the phone company and mall management.

    You’re 100% right that myspace is just a means of communication like the telephone companies or post office.

    If the post office has no legal responsibility to filter your mail for death threats, MySpace should have no responsibility to filter out sex offenders.

    Comment by Ryan — January 18, 2007 @ 2:55 pm

  3. The mothers and fathers of these girls absolutely be should be suing. However, they should sue the young men who committed these acts, not MySpace.

    These parents are just looking at this as an opportunity to spook a settlement of some sort.. But they are short sighted because MySpace inevitably has a plan of action for this exact kind of thing and a staff of lawyers whose sole responsibility it is to protect their client from pointless claims such as this one.

    The sad reality is that they might be able to squeeze a small sum out of MySpace, such as perhaps $10,000 for each girl with a dual “no admission of guilt” coming from both sides. Simply because their lawyers salaries and travel expenses and whatnot to depose the witnesses and plaintiffs would exceed that amount anyway and so it would make economic sense for MySpace.

    Welcome to business in America: Junk lawsuits.

    Comment by Jeff — January 18, 2007 @ 3:07 pm

  4. Something like that is a joke for one obvious reason: the parents are proving that they are content with their children being bait for lawsuits. I’ve heard of parents cursing the offenders. I’ve heard of parents being sued themselves after harassing those that did such acts upon their daughters. But in passing the blame to MySpace, the parents just prove that they care more about money then their children’s well-being.

    After all, if they truly cared about the well-being, wouldn’t the actually volunteer time to police sites such as mySpace for offenders? Or perhaps talk to the police about what THEY are doing to police myspace?

    Will getting money out of MySpace give back their children’s innocence? Obviously not. And if the innocence was actually the root cause of the parents’ actions, they would not be going after the communications agent, they’d be going after the perpetrators.

    I am not a parent, but if anyone did such heinous acts to someone I know and love, I wouldn’t be going after their provider, their email service, the malls, the telephone companies… I’d be going after the perpetrators, and anyone thinking of committing such a heinous act.

    Or, I could just sue the apartment complex which housed them. Wouldn’t that solve a lot?!

    Comment by Shaggy — January 20, 2007 @ 10:23 pm

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