Tag Archives | gossip

Man Forced to Leave Town After Internet Message Board Comments Destroy His Reputation

This week’s episode of This American Life featured a story about Gene Cooley of Blairsville, Georgia, a microscopic town of approximately 600 residents. There’s not much to do in Blairsville but talk about the neighbors, and the best way to do that anonymously is on Topix, a website featuring message boards devoted to small communities like Blairsville. After Gene’s fiancee was murdered by her jealous ex-husband, the Topix rumor mill went into overdrive. What began as idle gossip escalated into vicious slander. Five or so Topix users were particularly brutal, accusing Cooley of being a pedophile, drug addict, philanderer, and pervert that shouldn’t be trusted around children.

Gene had never heard of Topix before he became a target of some of its users on the Blairsville message board. Attempts to discover their identities were futile, and he had no enemies that he knew of.

The gossip took its toll and Gene became a pariah; shunned by people he had known all of his life.… Read the rest

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China Criminalizes Spreading False Rumors Online That Go Viral

online rumorsWill the jails of the future be filled with those condemned for trollcrimes? ZDNet reports:

Online users in China who share false information that is defamatory or affect national interest will face up to three years in prison if their posts are viewed 5,000 times or forwarded 500 times.

This is a new judicial interpretation issued Monday by the country’s Supreme People’s Court and Supreme People’s Procuratorate, which defines the criteria for convicting and sentencing offenders who spread rumors online that defame, blackmail or provoke, China Daily reported.

The judicial interpretation also states that profiting from helping people delete posts is illegal, and anyone who gains more than 20,000 yuan (US$3,270) through this practice will see their case treated as “serious”. So far, prominent Chinese venture capitalist Charles Xue Biqun, investigative journalist Liu Hu, and Weibo users Yang Xiuyu and Qin Zhihui have been arrested and detained for fabricating online rumors.

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