Sigh. I suppose it's normal that my first post in a few weeks here would be about Facebook.
So, some dude set up a mischievous fake Facebook profile for some other dude in London, and ended up having to pay £22,000 in damages for libel and breach of privacy.
A businessman whose personal details were "laid bare" in fake entries on the Facebook social networking website has won a libel case at the High Court.
Mathew Firsht was awarded £22,000 in damages against an old school friend, Grant Raphael, who created the profile.
I'm not exactly sure how much £22,000 equals in real money, but I think the conversion process in my head puts it hovering somewhere near a gazillion dollars.
Why is this
semi somewhat passingly important?
Well, for one, the medium in question here isn't some vague nebulous cloud like "The News" or "TV" or "A Tabloid" or "The Internet" - it's Facebook Inc. That means that Facebook itself now has so much pull and acceptance as a media presence - even though the Facebook network itself is a closed one, invisible and inaccessible to non-members - that its hyper-dynamics are every bit as relevant as the entirety of television or radio. So there you have it - Facebook is now the media.
Of course, it has been for a while. But what's even super-suckier is that the slide towards monopolistic media consolidation has become so subversive that everyone - even so-called liberals / progressives - champion Facebook (and every other gated-community social networking corporation) blindly as "a good thing" that will do more good than harm, when it has already proven to be quite the opposite. Of course, these are the same people who think that Twitter is going to change the world for the better, that OLPCs are going to improve education in developing nations, and that iPhones make our lives easier and better. To put it politely, I'm not overly concerned about what these people think.
Anyway, I have to give props / knuckles to the High Court for even taking the case seriously to begin with, much less actually seeing it through. I imagine far too many legal scenarios would involve the judge saying something akin to "But it's just the Internet - it's not real! Case dismissed." He'd be right of course, but I'm happy about this ruling because it sheds light - albeit a dim one - that the shit you put online (namely, on Facebook) can affect the shit that happens in your real life in a very, umm, real way. The lesson here, I believe, is:
Thou shalt not create fake profile of frenemies on Facebook wherein thyst calleth said frenemies liars, crooks and douche-a-bags.
More hilarity ensues at the end of that article, which has a link to another article entitled "Vanishing Act - How to disappear without a trace - legitimately".
Well, Beebs, for starters, you might want to close your effin' Facebook account. ;)