Social Web for good, bad

There are so many good things about social-networking, from the social activism it supports to the lives saved to the way far-flung friends can stay in touch. But there's a definite darkside, and JuicyCampus is a good example of a corner of it, reports my ConnectSafely.org co-director Larry Magid in the San Jose Mercury News. "The site, which was reportedly founded by a 1995 Duke graduate, encourages students at selected colleges ranging from the Air Force Academy to Yale to anonymously post 'juicy' comments about other students. And some of these comments can be downright vicious. All of this is under the veil of anonymity." He added that a bit surfing of the site turned up cruel posts about people's sexual preferences, true or not…. One posting implied a certain named female student was available for sex with strangers and included her cell phone number and dorm information." What's sad is that the law protects the site better than it does the victims of defamation and cyberbullying in it. He quotes the CEO of ReputationDefender.com as saying that, under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, "a record company has a better chance of getting a judgment against a college student sharing music than a college student has against someone jeopardizing his or her reputation, privacy or even safety." [See also "Is Social Networking Good for Society?" at the New York Times.]


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