QUESTION: Is having a fake facebook page cyberstalking?
A Reader via email asks:
My daughter has had a “fake” Facebook page the past few years – not her real name, to stay anonymous but interact with people who like the same music she did. The fans are more than a little strange and she was only 19 at the time. She interacted with a young man on facebook and email approx 5 months who wanted a relationship with her, without ever divulging her real name/address/phone. She decided against it and ended contact with him a few weeks ago. Now he’s claiming my daughter was stalking him, impersonating someone she wasn’t and that he’s going to sue her for “anything my lawyers can think of.” I’m wondering what she might have done that could be considered illegal. I’m seriously concerned if this guy can actually hunt her down to our actual address with this threat of legal action.
Ok, here is the deal in plain terms. With the limited information I have, the only trouble your daughter probably caused was a violation of facebook’s terms of service. Facebook requires that users must be real persons and do not allow for any sort of pseudo-persons as users of their site.
The only way she could have stirred up some legal troubles is if she impersonated a real person, particularly a celebrity. This would possibly fall under the tort of invasion of privacy- appropriating a false identity. It doesn’t seem to be the case here.
As far as cyberstalking is concerned, the definition differs from jurisdiction to jurisdiction, but in general it is the unwanted and repeated intrusion into another person’s real-life vis-a-vis the internet. It does not look like she has done this, however, her accuser may be liable for cyberstalking himself. False victimization, or wrongly accusing others of cyberstalking is a form of cyberstalking in and of itself. Contacting her through the internet after she has made it clear that she does not want to be contacted is another, more obvious form of cyberstalking. If I were in your daughter’s situation I would make sure that he has no way of accessing her personal information.
Disclaimer: It is difficult to dispense comprehensive legal advice on the internet. If you find the information on this site interesting and insightful, great. But before you rely on any of this advice, please consult a legal professional with the specific details of your case or controversy.
Posted on February 22, 2012, in Ask a Cyber Lawyer, cyber stalking, cybercrime, defamation, false identity, invasion of privacy, Questions from Readers and tagged cyber stalking, facebook, False Identity, invasion of privacy. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a Comment.