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COURT: Parents Could Be Held Liable For Their Children’s Facebook Posts

The parents of two children who posted defamatory comments about a fellow student in a fake Facebook account are heading to court, which will determine whether parents should be liable for their children’s internet activity.

Reuters / Jorge Silva

Reuters / Jorge Silva

The parents of seventh-grade students Dustin Athearn and Melissa Snodgrass learned this the hard way after their children created a fake Facebook page under the name of fellow student Alexandria (Alex) Boston. Dustin and Melissa, with the help of a “Fat Face” app, distorted Alex’s features, while also making offensive comments about the girl.

According to the court document, “After Dustin created the account, both Dustin and Melissa added information to the unauthorized profile, which indicated inter alia, racist viewpoints and a homosexual orientation. Dustin and Melissa also caused the persona to issue invitations to become ‘Friends’ to many of Alex’s classmates, teachers, and extended family members,” wrote the Georgia Court of Appeals in its opinion.

The court described the content on the false Facebook page as “graphically sexual, racist or otherwise offensive.”

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