Social networking fraud shouldn’t go unpunished

In today’s world where the 24-hour news cycle has been replaced by the 24-second news cycle, bloggers have taken over. They flock to Twitter, Facebook and MySpace eager to network and break news stories.
Some users abuse their rights of free speech, however, and use these places to slander others, often proving to be disastrous.
Most recently, Colony High School principal Cyd Duffin was the victim of a fake MySpace page that had been created in her name. The page was not only fake, but the well-known principal and recipient of Alaska’s Principal of the Year is saying the page libeled her and that it was also used to make fun of various students who attend the high school in Palmer.
This is not the only case of bloggers using these kinds of sites to hurt others.
In a similar case of 2007, a MySpace page was created under a false name and used to harass 13-year-old Megan Meier of Missouri. This case, however, had far worse consequences than a ruined reputation: the harassment got so bad under the false MySpace page that Meier ended up committing suicide.
There have been over 200 other lawsuits filed against bloggers in the past year, many just like Duffin’s where students create fake profiles for their teachers. Alaska now defines criminal impersonation only if it has to do with finances but is considering joining other states who have made cyber-bullying a crime, although there have been no definite steps forward.
So what can the law do about this? Many argue that punishing these bloggers will violate the students’ freedom of speech.
I disagree.
There is a difference between freedom of speech and a blatant abuse of that freedom. I think that if the parents of these crude people have not instilled the proper morals or convictions into their children, there needs to be consequences. I am tired of the youth of this nation getting away with these things because the law cannot punish them.
Other questions that arise from situations like this are: will other bloggers who use the Internet for breaking news and connecting with friends have to pay a price? How will our rights be infringed on because of these acts?
The death of newspapers has turned the Internet into the fastest means of information around. When people abuse this incredible tool, others pay for it.
So I say we should prosecute and punish the culprits before our rights as bloggers, “tweople” and networkers are taken away.