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Goldstein and Bashner

Can You Be Held Liable for Defamation on Facebook?

A cyberbullying case that took place in Oceanside High School was recently dismissed by a State Supreme Court Justice. The verdict came despite the plaintiff's charges of defamation. The Oceanside graduate claimed that four of her ex-classmates had wrote false and deeply hurtful things about her in a private facebook group. In the group, the defendants suggested that the girl took part in bestiality and that she even contracted AIDS.

The plaintiff had initially included facebook, the students' parents, and the students in the lawsuit, however, facebook was later dropped as a defendant because of a federal clause that states website operators aren't liable for content posted on their sites.

The judge, Randy Sue Marber, dismissed the plaintiff's 6-million dollar lawsuit and added that,"The entire context and tone of the posts constitute evidence of adolescent insecurities and indulgences, and a vulgar attempt at humor. What they do not contain are statements of fact." In addition, the judge added that the parents cannot be held liable, since it is nearly impossible for them to control their children's' online behavior.

The plaintiff was deeply disappointed with the verdict, but indicated that it was still vital that she stood up for those who have been victims of defamation. 

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