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News Should you be jailed for making a joke on facebook?

  1. Oct 10, 2012 #1
    A teenager who posted explicit comments and jokes about April Jones on his Facebook page has been jailed for 12 weeks.

    "Woods was arrested for his own safety after about 50 people descended on his home. He pleaded guilty at Chorley magistrates court to sending by means of a public electronic communications network a message or other matter that is grossly offensive. The chairman of the bench, Bill Hudson, said Woods's comments were so "abhorrent" he deserved the longest sentence the court could hand down.

    Hudson added: "The reason for the sentence is the seriousness of the offence, the public outrage that has been caused and we felt there was no other sentence this court could have passed which conveys to you the abhorrence that many in society feel this crime should receive."

    The court was told Woods's Facebook page was available to a large number of people."

    - Extract from the Guardian website.

    Surely this is ridiculous?

    Surely this cannot now act as precedent for future cases?

    What is the world coming to when you can't make inappropriate jokes to your friends on facebook??????

    ..... Discuss.
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Oct 10, 2012 #2

    WannabeNewton

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    I mean what else can you say other than this is ridiculous? It is just a bunch of butt hurt individuals who take jokes over face book way too seriously. It is a very sad day when humans are riled up by jokes to that extent over some 5 - year old girl. It is truly sad.
     
  4. Oct 10, 2012 #3
    I totally agree! To be honest as soon as I posted this I thought "This might have been pointless because surely no one will agree the he should be in jail"

    But oh well its up now, I'll think ill just use it to let people vent on the subject and if an interesting discussion worms its way out of the woodwork then we can roll with it.

    Could be interesting to see what the not to distant future holds for the internet age.

    Another recent example of legislation not being able to keep up with technology!
     
  5. Oct 10, 2012 #4

    Ryan_m_b

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    I can't remember if it was BBC or C4 but one o them recently did a special report on a recent police crackdown on trolls and Internet harrassment. It was pretty good because they did tackle sickos like people who would go onto RIP memorial pages and make fun of grieving family. However one commenter did point out that sometimes the situation isn't black and white, like if someone makes a harrassing comment on their own page.
     
  6. Oct 10, 2012 #5

    George Jones

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    Either I have misunderstood WannabeNewton`s post, or you have misunderstood it.
     
  7. Oct 10, 2012 #6

    Evo

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    You forgot to post the link to the article, so I don't know what it said. Can you post it please? There is no way a person can have an opinion without knowing all of the facts.

    Just FYI, for copyright reasons, whenever you quote something that is copyrighted, you should always link to the original source.
     
  8. Oct 10, 2012 #7
    Hmmm maybe WannabeNewton can clear this up but I read that as effectively saying people far too often choose to be offended when it's far easier to consider that one persons opinion or ill judgement is not a reason to take personal offence. Which I would agree with.

    If one chooses to subscribe to a persons facebook page and chooses to read things they post then imprisoning them for saying something you dis agree with is ludicrous.

    Ben.
     
  9. Oct 10, 2012 #8
  10. Oct 10, 2012 #9

    WannabeNewton

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    Oh lord those comments are genius. I got a laugh out of those. And yes Ben I was saying those people who threatened\arrested him were in the wrong not him; I find it quite appalling.
     
  11. Oct 10, 2012 #10

    Evo

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    The kid is obviously a moron, and Facebook should have deleted the posts and banned them.

    I don't know what kind of hate speech is allowed in the UK, so I can't comment on whether what the jerk wrote was illegal.
     
  12. Oct 10, 2012 #11

    WannabeNewton

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    Oh come on evo don't tell me you didn't get a giggle out of the ginger joke =D.
     
  13. Oct 10, 2012 #12
    Depends entirely on your ideological bent. Americans like to lock people up to punish them. Other places take the attitude that only those who are are a threat to others should be jailed. Some countries punish anyone that they perceive to be a threat to those in power.
     
  14. Oct 10, 2012 #13

    Evo

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    No. Kidnapping with the probable rape, torture, and murder that goes with it of a child is never a laughing matter.

    I don't think jail is appropriate, but as I said, I don't know what is considered hate or indecent speech there that is illegal. I think a few hundred hours of community service would have been more appropriate.
     
  15. Oct 10, 2012 #14

    George Jones

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    So no sarcasm was intended in
    Wow. Because I have a daughter who just turned six, maybe I am biased.
    Yes, it depends on the laws in the UK, but this could well be illegal hate speech. The internet should not be the Wild West where "anything goes".
     
  16. Oct 10, 2012 #15
    UK seem very strict and bit odd on hate speech from the BBC UK news I have come across in past. They have banned few people North Americans over hate speeches and put charges against quite a few people over hate speeches and anti-social behaviors.

    Going to OP, it depends on country. You need to think before you speak anywhere outside the US.
     
  17. Oct 10, 2012 #16

    Ryan_m_b

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    Personally I think that if the comments were on their own Facebook page and did not involve tagging anyone related to the incident in them then it should not be against the law. However this doesn't necessarily apply if they have set their page for public viewing.

    In the UK as I understand it something posted on the Internet where it can be publicly viewed is under the same libel, hate speech, harrassment etc laws as if it was printed in a newspaper.
     
  18. Oct 10, 2012 #17
    I totally agree that it is not a laughing matter and when the news segment I watched is repeated I will take note of the relevant UK laws and legislation that were discussed in order to aid a more informed discussion.

    However on face value alone it seems absurd. If I were to be rude and offensive in a physics forums discussion I would likely be slapped with several warnings and banned, if I were rude and offensive in a pub/club/shop I would told to leave.... If I'm rude and offensive on facebook, I might go to jail?

    I seem to remember a clause being mentioned in a current version of the Public order act (although I will post something a little more concrete shortly) that describes how one should not knowingly offend or insult another person and this was "copied and pasted" into the internet arena to deal with cases such as this.... I will however do a bit of research and I'll try and find a link to something a little more.... hmm.... reliable.
     
  19. Oct 10, 2012 #18

    WannabeNewton

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    I don't see how you can persecute someone for posting non - threatening comments on his\her own facebook page.
     
  20. Oct 10, 2012 #19

    George Jones

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    This depends on the comments, and on the laws of the country in which the comments were made. See

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Galliano
     
  21. Oct 10, 2012 #20
    I agree to a certain extent, however I feel that people need to have a little perspective. You mentioned you had a 6 year old daughter and if I were to make a horrible comment about her (which I obviously wouldn't) you would rightfully be offended and I would be dismissed from this forum. However if you come across a story involving a completely unrelated child do you necessarily have to take action against a person being an idiot because of your increased empathy for the families situation? You can write it of as a fool being a fool and get on with your own life? We all deal with ill mannered people on a day to day basis, they don't all belong in prison.

    But you are in a better position than me to comment on that, so feel free to correct me.
     
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