Facebook bullies charged after victim tracks them down

When 18-year-old Ally Pfeiffer found a Facebook profile impersonating her and replacing her photograph with a picture of a cow to mock her weight, she cried. However, the Connecticut teen fought back, found the IP address for the bogus page and helped police trace the cruel behavior back to Sarah Johnson and Jeff Martone, her former classmates at a Bristol, Conn., high school, reports AOL News. And now, Johnson and Martone, both freshmen at the University of Connecticut, have been charged with criminal impersonation and second-degree harassment. Pfeiffer said she’s speaking out about her experience because she hopes it will prevent other young people from going through the pain she did. “If I help one teen or if I make one bully think twice before doing something I would feel 100 percent better,” she said in an interview with NBC’s “Today” show this morning. Both Martone, 19, and Johnson, 18, have admitted to creating the fake Facebook profile, which listed Pfeiffer’s “likes” as “being fat,” “whales,” “Ben and Jerry’s Ice Cream” and “not running.” Pfeiffer said she and Johnson were close friends in high school. “When I first saw the page, I was completely devastated. I didn’t know who had done it at this point and was questioning why they chose me, why they’d say those things about me,” she told WFSB.com. But Pfeiffer, a freshman at the University of Hartford, said she didn’t want to let the cyberbullying ruin her life. “Some of my friends would have hung themselves over this,” she told the Bristol Press. “So I’m just glad that [Martone and Johnson] got a stable person trying to take a positive approach to dealing with it rather than someone who could have taken different action.”
Cyberbullying has gained increased scrutiny since the death of Rutgers University student Tyler Clementi earlier this year, who killed himself after his classmates allegedly posted a video of him having sex with another man…

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Google executives convicted over online bullying video

In a case with huge implications for web site operators, an Italian court on Feb. 24 convicted three Google executives of privacy violations because they did not act quickly enough to pull down an online video that showed bullies abusing an autistic boy, reports the Associated Press. In the first such criminal trial of its kind, Judge Oscar Magi sentenced the three to a six-month suspended sentence and absolved them of defamation charges. Google called the decision “astonishing” and said it would appeal. “The judge has decided I’m primarily responsible for the actions of some teenagers who uploaded a reprehensible video to Google video,” Google’s global privacy counsel Peter Fleischer, who was convicted in absentia, said in a statement. The trial could help define whether the internet in Italy is an open, self-regulating platform or if content must be better monitored for abusive material. Google, based in Mountain View, Calif., had said it considered the trial a threat to freedom on the internet because it could force providers to attempt an impossible task—prescreening the thousands of hours of footage uploaded every day onto sites like YouTube. “We will appeal this astonishing decision,” Google spokesman Bill Echikson said at the courthouse. “We are deeply troubled by this decision. It attacks the principles of freedom on which the internet was built.”

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