Beta
×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

Mother Sues After Bebo Story Hits Press

kdawson posted more than 6 years ago | from the what-was-once-private dept.

Social Networks 305

slick_shoes notes a story out of England: a woman named Amanda Hudson is suing six national newspapers for defamation and breach of privacy after they ran stories based on her 15-year-old daughter's exaggerated claims about her party, published on her Bebo site. The party was held at the family's £4m villa in Spain, and the daughter's account claimed that jewelery had been stolen and furniture and a television set thrown into the swimming pool; in addition there were claims of sex and drug use. The mother says that this was all falsehood and exaggeration. A number of newspapers picked up claims and photos from Bebo and ran them nationally. From the article: "The case is expected to have far-reaching consequences for third parties who use or publish information from social networking sites. Lawyers say it could place a duty on all second-hand users to establish the truth of everything they want to republish from such sites."

cancel ×

305 comments

Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

Editors? (5, Insightful)

TheSkyIsPurple (901118) | more than 6 years ago | (#24153353)

> Lawyers say it could place a duty on all second-hand users to establish the truth of everything they want to republish from such sites

Isn't that what newspaper reporters and editors are for?

Re:Editors? (5, Insightful)

spun (1352) | more than 6 years ago | (#24153399)

Fact checking is so last century. In the NEW and CONNECTED world of WEB 2.0, flash-mobs in the blogosphere fact check everything for you!

Re:Editors? (0, Flamebait)

Apagador-Man (707934) | more than 6 years ago | (#24153505)

Why the fuck is this message's parent being modded insightful? Seems to me it's obviously being ironic, like... people DO use that way of fact checking, but it's only cause they are fucking lazy/retarded, not because it is last century.

Re:Editors? (2, Insightful)

uglydog (944971) | more than 6 years ago | (#24153617)

But what the post is actually trying to convey IS insightful.

Assuming the mother is telling the truth (4, Informative)

Woundweavr (37873) | more than 6 years ago | (#24154013)

By US standards this case would likely be tossed out.

The first story I found from the Daily Mail [dailymail.co.uk] included getting a response from the mother, quotes from other party goers, etc

In the words of Jodie on her Bebo page after the event: 'There's so much damage and clothes stolen. A lot of broken doors. people cauight (sic) having sex.'

But the teenager seemed unrepentant about the chaos she caused, adding: 'I got punched by my mum for it and grounded until the summer. wat a a BITCH!'

Mrs Hudson, who is separated from Jodie's father, yesterday denied she had hit her daughter. ...
One partygoer, who said he had heard about the event from friends, said: 'Somebody said we were allowed to wreck the house because the birthday girl's parents were getting divorced.

'There were kids behaving like gangsters from a rap video, throwing stuff around and smashing things. There were chairs, tables, even a TV in the pool.' ...

Mrs Hudson had been hoping to move and had put her home in the exclusive El Paraiso development on the market.

Friends said she told them: 'The place looked like a war zone.
'All the banisters have been broken. The walls are ruined, the carpets are destroyed, furniture is broken . . . It is going to take months to sort out.'

One friend said: 'Amanda is still furious with her daughter and hasn't spoken to her for days.'

Last night Mrs Hudson played down the furore. 'Jodie had up to 400 people, but she knows a lot of people,' she said.

'With a party that size you are always going to end up with some damage.'

Asked about Jodie's comments on Bebo, she said: 'I don't know what she has written on her site, and I'm not saying anything else.'

Just because the mother denies (possibly criminal, depending on how hitting her daughter occurred and what the laws are regarding serving minors alcohol over there) the report doesn't mean it was defamation or they didn't do their jobs. Maybe the quotes were made up, and maybe the pictures from the girl's blog didn't show what they seemed to (teenagers paired up in bed, passed out drunk girls, young men/teenagers carrying beer around) but we shouldn't assume that.

According to wiki in the UK

A private individual must only prove negligence (not using due care) to collect compensatory damages. In order to collect punitive damages, all individuals must prove actual malice.

The US uses a somewhat similar standard. If you've got claims by the daughter, quotes from friends of the mother, and from party goers (and these are not fabricated) then to me "due care" has probably been taken.

Re:Editors? (1)

metamechanical (545566) | more than 6 years ago | (#24153409)

Newspaper reporters and editors are there to keep ad revenue coming in, and ensure that people want to keep buying subscriptions.

Re:Editors? (4, Insightful)

TheSkyIsPurple (901118) | more than 6 years ago | (#24153495)

You'd think that having incorrect information would tend to dissuade customers from parting with their money

Re:Editors? (5, Insightful)

Spuds (8660) | more than 6 years ago | (#24153563)

You'd think that having incorrect information would tend to dissuade customers from parting with their money

You'd think, but sadly, no.

Re:Editors? (5, Insightful)

Bloke down the pub (861787) | more than 6 years ago | (#24153567)

You'd think that having incorrect information would tend to dissuade customers from parting with their money

If that was true most of the tabloids would have gone bankrupt years ago.

Re:Editors? (1, Insightful)

DaedalusHKX (660194) | more than 6 years ago | (#24153661)

We'll have to agree to disagree on that one. Tabloids occasionally print the truth. And they occasionally do fact checking... more than can be said for the "establishment" mouthpieces that are the newspapers and media "outlets" of today. All they reprint is the "government press release" because we know they never lie to anyone, right?

Re:Editors? (5, Funny)

Bloke down the pub (861787) | more than 6 years ago | (#24153769)

Tabloids occasionally print the truth.

A stopped clock is occasionally right.

And they occasionally do fact checking... more than can be said for the "establishment" mouthpieces that are the newspapers and media "outlets" of today.

Do you find that when you say that face to face, people nod as if they agree with you, then their eyes sort of glaze over, then they start glancing at their watch and ... umm, gotta go - dental appointment!

Re:Editors? (-1, Troll)

DaedalusHKX (660194) | more than 6 years ago | (#24153829)

Most of the people I talk to face to face seem to trust newspapers to be correct as often as tabloids.

Thanks for playing.

Re:Editors? (0, Flamebait)

Shimdaddy (898354) | more than 6 years ago | (#24153993)

Talking to yourself is a sign of insanity.

Re:Editors? (1)

DaedalusHKX (660194) | more than 6 years ago | (#24154269)

Once it gets to ad hominems (as it just did) I'm thinking mayhap this subject is not worth discussing. As for the newspapers around here, you can tell their slant on a story, and if you ask questions of the individuals involved and find out ten times more than what was quoted in the paper. (As I live in a small town at the moment, I can actually verify this very easily when it is mentioned in the papers).

Generally the papers tend to overemphasize bullshit stories, and the really heavy stuff ("Federal Reserve to avoid raising rates while printing enough worthless paper money to double the national debt" would've made a hell of a headline, but was completely avoided. "Congress a bunch of pandering weaklings" would've made a hell of a headline, but was avoided. "Is your vote worth anything except validating the next cookie cutter ruler?" Lots of good thoughtful headlines could run in the papers. Discussion could be started in the so called "public fora" but the newspapers have ceased to be the "public fora" fora long time (pun intended).

As far as I'm concerned, and quite a few I've known, you're actually getting more up to date news from muckraker sites and muckraker publications. I even have an acquaintance who reads most of the stories that even manage to hit the mainstream occasionally and he reads them a few months in advance. Not even online. Newsletter subscription. Generally his are more detailed than those run by the papers on Page A24 on the next to last page... by which point most people have stopped reading, have used the paper to wrap breakables or have used it to line the bird cage.

Re:Editors? (1)

neuromancer23 (1122449) | more than 6 years ago | (#24154199)

Along with Fox News

Re:Editors? (4, Insightful)

metamechanical (545566) | more than 6 years ago | (#24153595)

Most people don't care about true things. They care about exciting things. And to them, unfortunately, the truth is usually not exciting.

Re:Editors? (1)

jeiler (1106393) | more than 6 years ago | (#24153419)

Fact-checking is so pre-Web-2.0.

Re:Editors? (1)

jeiler (1106393) | more than 6 years ago | (#24153531)

Oops--Spun got to it first.

Re:Editors? (1)

Rinisari (521266) | more than 6 years ago | (#24153433)

Exactly. I bet she'll win this one.

Re:Editors? (4, Interesting)

topham (32406) | more than 6 years ago | (#24153443)

Thankfully you said 'Newspaper' editors, if we held the editors around here to that standard there would be no stories!

Seriously, this is stupid; her daughter published the 'facts' as it were. She may have a claim, but her daughter should be enjoined from having a claim.
If I tell you I'm a drunk, and you publish it I can't later say that it wasn't true and sue you for publishing it.

Re:Editors? (4, Insightful)

DaedalusHKX (660194) | more than 6 years ago | (#24153771)

Actually the ONLY way they can get away with it and NOT lose the lawsuit is to have said throughout the story "the young, 15 year old girl's blog CLAIMS that... etc etc."

If they said "and in related news, etc mansion was host to a party and etc got high, knocked up and smashed a TV" that's libel/defamation. Claims have to be attributed as such. Only verified information can be claimed to be true. I wager most newssources wouldn't verify shit they run anymore than most consumers of said news sources would actually VERIFY the news sources reports.

Prime example. Remember Die Hard 4? Remember the scene where everyone watches the bad guys take out the capitol? (or was it the white house?) Remember how the people near there go outside and see it is okay and still standing? What about all the other poor bastards who have no way of verifying or cannot be bothered or have had their government run communications get taken out? (Hence why i recommend everyone have a CB radio or ham rig in their home, even without repeaters, the chain effect works enough to cover a whole region of concerned individuals.)

Verification, personal inquiry are both important factors of stories, and journalists have discovered that yellow journalism works. Why report a "claim" as a "claim"? Because it keeps the libel cases away from your door.

Re:Editors? (5, Funny)

Joe the Lesser (533425) | more than 6 years ago | (#24153465)

That reminds me of how Fox News is constantly discussing crazy online rumors as if they were credible facts.

'Reports say that Obama has a taste for kittens! What a devastating blow to his campaign! Surely he will lose ground in the animal rights voting bloc. We'll cover this next on our 3 hour special "Barack-uriosity Killed the Cat."'

Hannity comes in: "So is the cat out of the bag on the Obama campaign? MySpace reports....." and so on and so forth

Re:Editors? (3, Funny)

sm62704 (957197) | more than 6 years ago | (#24153809)

Reports say that Obama has a taste for kittens! What a devastating blow to his campaign! Surely he will lose ground in the animal rights voting bloc. We'll cover this next on our 3 hour special "Barack-uriosity Killed the Cat."

Does he huff them? [uncyclopedia.org]

Re:Editors? (1)

oneal13rru (1322741) | more than 6 years ago | (#24153565)

No. Newpaper editors have only one job, and that is to write scathing, sometimes witty editorials about things noone should waste time having an opinion on. You really need to get with the system here, much easier that way. Speaking of which, would you like a Microsoft Windows Vista Colonoscopy? Same concept.

Re:Editors? (2, Interesting)

Candid88 (1292486) | more than 6 years ago | (#24153583)

"Isn't that what newspaper reporters and editors are for?"

Yes, but what if an Editor has a really good story about a "party gone wild" which he knows will sell lots of papers but then at the last minute discovers his sources are false. Do you really expect him to cause his newspaper to loose sales?

Remember his duty is to the newspaper company's shareholders after all, not the customers.

Re:Editors? (1)

jim.hansson (1181963) | more than 6 years ago | (#24153801)

cant loose sales you never had, have you been listning to much to some RIAA/MPAA smuck?

Re:Editors? (1)

KlomDark (6370) | more than 6 years ago | (#24153885)

Didn't stop our good buddy W when it came to the Nigerian Yellowcake Uranium not actually being sold to Iraq. Complete bullshit is the news of the day.

Re:Editors? (4, Insightful)

AKAImBatman (238306) | more than 6 years ago | (#24153941)

Pff. You guys need to learn how the business works.

Day 1: "Daughter claims rich family had a drunken orgy party!"

Day 2: "Mother claims daughter told an 'embellished' story about the party"

There you go. A story and a retraction. Both of which are perfectly legal and true. The mother can sue all she wants, but what she should be doing is stringing up her daughter by her pinky toe. Instead, we end up with...

Day 3: "Family sues newspapers for reporting embellished story"

Even more sales! (Cha-ching!)

Re:Editors? (4, Insightful)

infonography (566403) | more than 6 years ago | (#24153657)

Sadly for the plaintiff the account came from a member of the family in a published journal (her daughter's website). How many times have there been stories of say Slashdot which were questionable. Then the comments started to fly.

Still it all boils down to the daughter's web posting. It's close enough a legitimate source for a judge to toss it. If a journalist made it up out of whole clothe that's one thing this is from a direct source.

Who may be a liar.

Re:Editors? (1)

dedazo (737510) | more than 6 years ago | (#24153861)

The trick is to append a question mark to your headlines.

That way no one can accuse you of anything even when you repeat (and embellish) the most outrageous bullshit.

See also: Faux News, Slashdot, Digg.

Re:Editors? (4, Informative)

Dekortage (697532) | more than 6 years ago | (#24153891)

To quote John Swinton [constitution.org] :

"There is no such thing, at this date of the world's history, in America, as an independent press. You know it and I know it. There is not one of you who dares to write your honest opinions, and if you did, you know beforehand that it would never appear in print. I am paid weekly for keeping my honest opinion out of the paper I am connected with. Others of you are paid similar salaries for similar things, and any of you who would be so foolish as to write honest opinions would be out on the streets looking for another job. If I allowed my honest opinions to appear in one issue of my paper, before twenty-four hours my occupation would be gone. The business of the journalists is to destroy the truth, to lie outright, to pervert, to vilify, to fawn at the feet of mammon, and to sell his country and his race for his daily bread. You know it and I know it, and what folly is this toasting an independent press? We are the tools and vassals of rich men behind the scenes. We are the jumping jacks, they pull the strings and we dance. Our talents, our possibilities and our lives are all the property of other men. We are intellectual prostitutes."

Re:Editors? (1)

linal (1116371) | more than 6 years ago | (#24153957)

As the article didn't say what news papaers are beign sued comment can't really be made. If they are broad sheets then their job should be to make sure that published content is factual and correct. Tabloids like the sun and the mirror, editors are only there to fill some space in the office.

Re:Editors? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24154145)

> Lawyers say it could place a duty on all second-hand users to establish the truth of everything they want to republish from such sites

Isn't that what newspaper reporters and editors are for?

And that's what they did:
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/worldnews/article-1022756/Trail-destruction-British-familys-4-4m-Marbella-villa-400-crash-Facebook-party.html

Note the interviews with the mom, party-goers, and the citation of Bebo for the quotes about the mom hitting her daughter.

What an age we live in. (1)

AkaKaryuu (1062882) | more than 6 years ago | (#24153371)

Now anybody's journal and stories can be handed over to newspaper presses at any time. But is the newspaper actually responsible? I mean, her daughter did publish this to a public forum... doesn't that make it fact under the law of wikiality?

Re:What an age we live in. (5, Funny)

daedae (1089329) | more than 6 years ago | (#24153523)

Although it's true the papers should have fact-checked... isn't the daughter ultimately the one responsible for the false information? I guess suing one's own, minor, daughter probably doesn't make the same ch-ching sound.

Re:What an age we live in. (4, Insightful)

shalla (642644) | more than 6 years ago | (#24153561)

Publishing something does not make it a fact. It simply makes it published. If the information is not true, you can still get your pants sued off, as these newspapers are finding out.

That's why you should always check your sources. Learn to protect yourself from libel suits.

Re:What an age we live in. (1)

sm62704 (957197) | more than 6 years ago | (#24153963)

If you publish the fact that it was published, then you are publishing facts. For example, if you say "George Bush is the anti-Christ" you are not publishing a fact, but if you say "Uncyclopedia says that George Bush is the anti-Christ" you are indeed publishing facts.

If your mainstream media newspaper quotes some kid's blog with attribution, then it is indeed publishing facts.

Re:What an age we live in. (1)

arth1 (260657) | more than 6 years ago | (#24154207)

Publishing something does not make it a fact. It simply makes it published. If the information is not true, you can still get your pants sued off, as these newspapers are finding out.

That's why you should always check your sources. Learn to protect yourself from libel suits.

IANAL, and laws surely differ between countries, but wouldn't reporting the source, and stating "according to [source]" remove the liability (as long as the reported source is your source, of course)?

I don't think everything should be checked before publishing -- sometimes, stories are breaking news, and you don't want everybody else to publish it before you while you spend valuable time verifying it. But that's when you reference the source, so people can check for themselves, or judge the merits of the claims.

In this case, as long as the newspapers stated their source, and didn't try to present the happenings as facts instead of claims, I don't see that they did anything wrong.

Instead of spending lots of money on losing a lawsuit, perhaps the mother instead should spend it on getting her daughter some help? It seems pretty clear she needs it, if the alleged statements of the mother are to be believed.

Rich teenage girl parties are news? (4, Insightful)

Rycross (836649) | more than 6 years ago | (#24153387)

The fact that some party thrown by a rich 15 year old girl is national news is kind-of depressing. Am I missing something?

Re:Rich teenage girl parties are news? (3, Insightful)

Jasonjk74 (1104789) | more than 6 years ago | (#24153429)

I was wondering the same thing. How is this "news for nerds?" Because it involves that amazing, new-fangled social networking?

Re:Rich teenage girl parties are news? (5, Insightful)

pha7boy (1242512) | more than 6 years ago | (#24153557)

The fact that newspapers published the account is not "news for nerds." The story is just background for what actually is important news - namely that there could be precedent in the UK for holding news organizations accountable for publishing second hand information without fact checking.

I wonder if the "compromise" will be that from now on newspapers will add "as reported on [insert blog name here]" on every such story meaning that they would pass responsibility for accuracy to the original source.

Re:Rich teenage girl parties are news? (1)

VdG (633317) | more than 6 years ago | (#24154135)

Papers have been doing this sort of thing for years, often passing stuff off as their own stories or original comment. They might be able to protect themselves by attributing the tale but I think that there must be a limit to that. If a politician puts some wacky stuff in their blog it might be news, but if my young nephew does the same thing it certainly isn't.

But also, if you suddenly discover that half the stories in your local paper have just been pulled off the Internet, might you not think that you're wasting your money and can just read the originals yourself?

Re:Rich teenage girl parties are news? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24154257)

How is this new? I didn't think the laws for defamation in this country protected anyone reporting rumour, even if they state clearly that it's just a rumour and even if they cite the source. If it's not true, or if it's malicious, and it damages someone's reputation then it's defamation, right?

Re:Rich teenage girl parties are news? (4, Funny)

Ukab the Great (87152) | more than 6 years ago | (#24153901)

News for nerds scandal would be a linux distribution CEO's son inviting Bill Gates to his house for dinner while his parents were on vacation believing he was having wild parties with drugs and sex.

Re:Rich teenage girl parties are news? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24153477)

Leave Bebo alone!:(

Re:Rich teenage girl parties are news? (2, Funny)

snowraver1 (1052510) | more than 6 years ago | (#24153513)

OMG!!! WTF do u mean BIG parties r al ways noows i want 2 go!!!11!!!!1! OMG WTF LOL!1!!

Re:Rich teenage girl parties are news? (1)

CastrTroy (595695) | more than 6 years ago | (#24153575)

To only Amanda Hudson [imdb.com] I can find is a camera operator. She's done some pretty big movies, but I don't see why anything in her life would be in the news. Maybe she's related to Kate Hudson. Anyway, I find the amount of attention rich people get in the news to be way over the top.

Re:Rich teenage girl parties are news? (1)

tweak13 (1171627) | more than 6 years ago | (#24154083)

That Amanda Hudson is a film loader, not a camera operator, and since neither of those positions really gets paid the big bucks I'm guessing it's not the same person.

Re:Rich teenage girl parties are news? (1)

Deagol (323173) | more than 6 years ago | (#24153813)

What's even more sad is there is (was?) a US TV show along the same lines. "My Sweet 16" or something. I haven't watched TV in years, so I don't know the specifics. However, I've heard word of the show online. Youth, beauty, and wealth -- the pillars of the entertainment industry.

Re:Rich teenage girl parties are news? (1)

Hatta (162192) | more than 6 years ago | (#24154009)

You're only depressed because you weren't invited.

Forget Social Networking News.. (1)

teknopurge (199509) | more than 6 years ago | (#24153395)

How about making sure everything is legit before holding it out in public as-such? It shouldn't matter if it comes from Myspace, Bebo, or the LAPD - it should all be verified, in triplicate.

Re:Forget Social Networking News.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24153665)

How about making sure everything is legit before holding it out in public as-such? It shouldn't matter if it comes from Myspace, Bebo, or the LAPD - it should all be verified, in triplicate.

Especially if it comes from the LAPD

Re:Forget Social Networking News.. (1)

sm62704 (957197) | more than 6 years ago | (#24154067)

NOW you tell us! Where were you before the Iraq war? Gees, to think that the media shouldn't just publish corporate and government press releases before seeing if they had a shred of truth - what a concept! This will revolutionize news reporting!

Truth in Reporting? (1)

oneal13rru (1322741) | more than 6 years ago | (#24153405)

Noone wants truth in reporting, the newspaper should countersue for potential loss of profit and defamation of journalistic reputation! People want drama, gossip, and shock value rumor mongering, what ELSE are they going to talk about for days and days???

Re:Truth in Reporting? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24154169)

Ahh - but the only way you could justify talking a low-grade scandal that you knew to be a lie was to pretend that it's true, which requires an insane amount of cognitive dissonance. Because of the amount of complexity involved (telling something you know to be a lie/exaggeration to someone who you know is aware that it's a lie/exaggeration, yet you are both pretending it's true to support a mutual frenzy of shock and disgust), you can safely assume that no-one who persists in this massive group effort of cognitive dissonance is merely an idiot. Therefore, anyone who continually buys scandal-sheets is intentionally and cynically undermining the fabric of democracy (viz. an informed and educated society) - therefore, Fox News is a terrorist organisation! Quickly, arrest them before they can attack us!

Excuse me (4, Funny)

DaveV1.0 (203135) | more than 6 years ago | (#24153417)

Your privacy is invading our public.

So why is it the paper's fault? (0)

Shivetya (243324) | more than 6 years ago | (#24153421)

If she published it on the web how does her age protect her? Actually how is someone to know the age of the publisher within reasonable certainty?

If the mother should be mad at anyone it is at the daughter. This is just one big "duh" case. Its sad to see that "lack of self responsibility" crowd exists on both sides of the pond.

Re:So why is it the paper's fault? (1)

petes_PoV (912422) | more than 6 years ago | (#24153673)

It's the newspapers fault for printing untrue and damaging stories. The defence: "but that's what they told me" is what you'd expect from a 6 year-old, grassing up a friend who did something bad. The publishers have a duty of care to verify the information they print, and must accept the consequences for being wrong. However, that does not mean the originator of the story is completely blameless - but they're not professional (I use that term in the loosest possible way) journalists.

It is sad you have to ask (3, Interesting)

spun (1352) | more than 6 years ago | (#24153805)

The paper has a duty to check facts that it publishes. How do they know that the 'daughter' publishing this information is really this woman's daughter at all, and not a jealous friend who wasn't invited?

Journalism has undergone a frightening shift in the last thirty years. Don't get me wrong: it has always been about selling eyes to the advertisers. But there used to be professional standards. People could take pride in saying they were a journalist. Journalists like Woodward and Bernstein were heroes protecting the public interest.

Now journalism is just another branch of the entertainment industry. Any sense of professional pride seems to be gone. Truth and accuracy don't matter.

It's not just stories like this, either. Journalists routinely slap their names on unedited press releases and call them stories without fact checking a damn thing. Politicians and businesses know that journalists are too lazy to do their jobs.

I hope so (3, Informative)

Herkum01 (592704) | more than 6 years ago | (#24153449)

I hope that they succeed. It would is nice to know that when they actually claim it is news, it is not a piece of fiction more in line with Harlequin romance novels.

Exaggeration! (4, Funny)

gparent (1242548) | more than 6 years ago | (#24153457)

"The party was held at the family's £4m villa in Spain, and the daughter's account claimed that jewelery had been stolen and furniture and a television set thrown into the swimming pool; in addition there were claims of sex and drug use. The mother says that this was all falsehood and exaggeration" Yeah. The villa is only worth £3.5m. And it was actually a DVD player that was thrown into the swimming pool. Oh and there was no drug use, only sex.

Re:Exaggeration! (1)

Korveck (1145695) | more than 6 years ago | (#24154315)

So you were at the party? How was the sex? Ummmm wait, why are you on slashdot?

Buy a dictionary.. (2, Insightful)

R2.0 (532027) | more than 6 years ago | (#24153461)

Hey, bitch - buy your daughter a damned dictionary and have her look up the meaning of the word "publish".

Then you look up the word "parent" and do your fucking job (hint - it doesn't involve suing a third party when your spawn does something stupid).

Re:Buy a dictionary.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24153849)

Err, assuming a decent parent should look over a 15 year-old's shoulder every time she posts, what's the problem? She's writing an amusing account of her party for her friends. The question here is, does that fact that it was displayed on a (semi)public site mean that the press can publish personal details about it? You need to chill out a bit.

would it make a difference (5, Interesting)

Altus (1034) | more than 6 years ago | (#24153463)

If they had written a story about the blog entry?

It seems to me that you couldnt possibly get in trouble for saying "According to her blog on myspace.com little suzy rich girls party got out of hand and someone threw a TV out the window"

I mean, thats certainly a true statement. If that would be acceptable to print without verifying the truth of the actual event then this isnt going to have much of an impact one way or another.

Personally I dont like the idea of a news paper regurgitating a blog as truth. Its one thing to refer to the blog, they way you might refer to another publication (ie "ABC news called florida for bush at 10:30").

Re:would it make a difference (3, Insightful)

ceoyoyo (59147) | more than 6 years ago | (#24153551)

A newspaper or TV station should ALWAYS identify it's source. This attitude that seeing it online is somehow equivalent to being an eyewitness is silly and dangerous. I hope they lose this stupid case just so we can get some journalistic integrity back for when it matters.

Re:would it make a difference (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24153881)

It seems to me that you couldnt possibly get in trouble for saying "According to her blog on myspace.com little suzy rich girls party got out of hand and someone threw a TV out the window"

I mean, thats certainly a true statement.

The problem with this line of reasoning is you can then report any fiction you make up as long as you put a "an anonymous source reported" on the end of it.

Re:would it make a difference (1)

Altus (1034) | more than 6 years ago | (#24154379)

Don't people regularly do that now though? Its a daily occurrence in sports reporting where "An official close to the club" reports that somebody is going to be traded to another team. It also seems to happen fairly regularly in financial and political reporting.

I don't put much stock in anonymous sources.

Re:would it make a difference (1)

vux984 (928602) | more than 6 years ago | (#24153971)

If they had written a story about the blog entry?

So the front page of every newspaper next week should be: "Two headed alien michael jackson baby!"... ... according to an eye witness who posted on his blog, Michael Jackson gave birth to a 2 headed alien child. Pictures were also on the blog, and blogger insists they aren't photoshopped too!!...

It may be the truth that some blogger posted this, but that hardly makes it 'news' or makes the story satisfy any sort of journalistic integrity.

Re:would it make a difference (1)

explodingspleen (1267860) | more than 6 years ago | (#24154079)

That it's a blog is not really relevant if they verified it was the actual girl hosting the party making the claims. She could just as well have sent an email or made a podcast or even telephoned them herself. Direct testimony in any form is still direct testimony.

I see nothing wrong with republishing the direct claims of a person on how their own party went. The only way you should possibly be liable for libel is if you post something contradicting what they say when what they say happens to be true.

I mean, it's a freaking story about a party. You shouldn't need to send an investigative crime lab over to validate every assertion of the hostess.

If anything the only case the mom has is against her own daughter for slander.

typical irresonsible parent (5, Insightful)

speedtux (1307149) | more than 6 years ago | (#24153467)

The only relevant fact that newspapers needed to check was that it was actually the 15-year old daughter that put it up for the world to see. Other than that, as the legal guardian, if the mother didn't want her daughter to post this information, she should have been a better parent.

There might actually be a case others have against the mother for defamation of character, since she is responsible for the actions of her daughter, and her daughter might have defamed them.

I wish parents would stop blaming other people for their own failings. Until their children come off age, what the kids do and what happens to the kids is the parents' sole responsibility.

Re:typical irresonsible parent (1)

FlyingBishop (1293238) | more than 6 years ago | (#24153779)

if the mother didn't want her daughter to post this information, she should have been a better parent.

And the mother being a better parent would have stopped her from posting this information... how?

Obviously, refusing to allow your children to have parties would solve the problem, but I'd hardly call that good parenting. Once you've hosted a party, what possible way do you have to stop your child from blogging on a computer outside the house and making outrageous claims? How exaggerated the claims might have been is irrelevant. You really can't hold parents responsible for their children doing stupid things online. Kids do stupid things, and today that means stupidly public things. Welcome to the information age.

Re:typical irresonsible parent (1)

citylivin (1250770) | more than 6 years ago | (#24153879)

"The only relevant fact that newspapers needed to check was that it was actually the 15-year old daughter that put it up for the world to see."

So if i post that 'speedux likes little boys' on my blog and the media for whatever reason reprints it as fact, whoes fault is that? Are you saying every lie on the internet can be reprinted by "authoritative" resources like print newspapers without them being held accountable? Sounds like a great way for editors to ruin peoples lives.

The fact is that newspapers are considered to be factual authorities. Granted this case is rather small, being confined to the entertainment section, but the result is the same - newspapers reprinting slander and lies. Newspapers arent like a blog, people expect basic fact checking, like maybe calling the parent - before publishing a story about an underage child.

Re:typical irresonsible parent (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24153905)

The only relevant fact that newspapers needed to check was that it was actually the 15-year old daughter that put it up for the world to see. Other than that, as the legal guardian, if the mother didn't want her daughter to post this information, she should have been a better parent.

There might actually be a case others have against the mother for defamation of character, since she is responsible for the actions of her daughter, and her daughter might have defamed them.

I wish parents would stop blaming other people for their own failings. Until their children come off age, what the kids do and what happens to the kids is the parents' sole responsibility.

You beat me too it. These parents obviously only care about their own reputation and not raising good children.

Father: Our daughter is drug addicted whore. What should we do about it honey?
Mother: Let's sue the companies that had the gall to report it.
Father: Brilliant!

Re:typical irresonsible parent (1)

DM9290 (797337) | more than 6 years ago | (#24154039)

If I publish libel, and you republish MY libel without ensuring its veracity, then you are ALSO liable for libel. Liability does not solely rest with the very first publisher. Each and every copy of defamatory material put into the public causes additional damage.

When you publish something that might tend to damage someones reputation you have an obligation to ensure what you are saying is TRUE and that you are not acting out of malice. No one forced the newspapers to republish a story they didn't even investigate.

It is not a defense to the publisher of libel that another party is ALSO guilty.

even if, in the jurisdiction in question, parents are responsible for damages their children caused. The child was not the one who published the newpapers. Newpapers are autonomous and CHOOSE to publish certain stories, and as a result they caused additional damage well above and beyond what the blog would have done if they simply left it alone.

I can see the headlines now... (5, Funny)

FlyingSquidStudios (1031284) | more than 6 years ago | (#24153509)

Bebo Babe's Barcelona Bash: Burglary, Buggery, Breaking

Freedom of speech doesn't mean freedom to BS (5, Insightful)

Madman (84403) | more than 6 years ago | (#24153519)

Newspapers have always had the responsibility to verify their stories, why should that change simply because the information's off the web?

Re:Freedom of speech doesn't mean freedom to BS (2, Insightful)

Bloke down the pub (861787) | more than 6 years ago | (#24153655)

Because the person who published and the person complaining are the same person?

Re:Freedom of speech doesn't mean freedom to BS (2, Interesting)

dschuetz (10924) | more than 6 years ago | (#24154151)

Because the person who published and the person complaining are the same person?

The person who *originally* published is the daughter of the person complaining.

The people who *currently* are publishing, that is, the tabloids, are being sued (rightfully, in my mind) for essentially spreading unsubstantiated rumor.

Look at it this way: If you're a reporter, and you tell your editor that "I've heard from a friend of a friend that this Hudson kid had a crazy party, can I do a story on it?" he'd say no. How should this be any different?

Why (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24153553)

in hell would anyone take anything published on a social networking site to be anything but falsehood and exaggeration?

And yes depressing it is that such a story would be national news.

"And today in Italy kids.... PARTIED?!?! ZOMG?!?1"

Should everyone be responsible (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24153555)

This includes geek bloggers, soccer moms and professional reporters. You post something with the impression that it is true and don't verify...then you should be help accountable. For example. A post recently posted ON slashdot that the RIAA MADE dell remove stereo output from some of its computers. Now it seems that it may not be so true, or again that is the rumor. If it is in fact found out to be of "no merit" that blogger/slashdot post SHOULD be found responsible for losses against dell & the riaa if they were able to make a case for that. Something to think about, just because you can doesn't mean you aren't responsible.

Re:Should everyone be responsible (1)

Korveck (1145695) | more than 6 years ago | (#24154183)

News agencies hire reporters to collect news and verify them, and they need to obtain licenses and stuff to do their reports. An ordinary person does not have the resource to do the same. The responsibilities of news agencies and a random person should, therefore, be different.

stupid people and lazy editors (4, Interesting)

petes_PoV (912422) | more than 6 years ago | (#24153609)

I can't say I have sympathy with any of the parties in this case. If I was the judge, ruling on this libel case I'd want to award damages AGAINST both sides.

For the lady and her daughter - abject stupidity. Once you put something on the internet, it's there for life - if you don't realise this, you are not qualified to use the internet. Just as if yo don't realise cars can kill, if improperly driven, you have no business being behind the wheel.

For the newspapers - whatever happened to validating your sources? Is this something that only happens in the movies, or has the average rag descended to the point where all it does is reprint salacious and unverified fiction from all and any sources. They really do deserve to be sued out of existence in that case.

Abe Vigoda (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24153687)

Errorneous reporting you say?

Ummm (4, Insightful)

EmagGeek (574360) | more than 6 years ago | (#24153691)

"The case is expected to have far-reaching consequences for third parties who use or publish information from social networking sites. Lawyers say it could place a duty on all second-hand users to establish the truth of everything they want to republish from such sites."

Aren't journalists supposed to do this ANYWAY?

Since when was there a requirement for truth... (4, Informative)

exp(pi*sqrt(163)) (613870) | more than 6 years ago | (#24153727)

...in reporting? Maybe they do things differently in the UK, but certainly in the US, as Fox News demonstrated [wikipedia.org] , there's no such legal requirement.

Re:Since when was there a requirement for truth... (1)

citylivin (1250770) | more than 6 years ago | (#24154021)

Good thing most of the world doesnt work on broken american law, or their precedents.

Dont drag us all down to your level amerika

Privacy? What privacy? (4, Interesting)

nobodyman (90587) | more than 6 years ago | (#24153749)

From the article:

She did not consent to the publication in the media of any photograph of her or her party, or of any material that she wrote on her Bebo site

Too bad. When you publish stuff on the internet for all of the world to see it really undermines your privacy claims. Now, if this girl only allowed her stories to be seen by those she had designated as friends, then she might have a leg to stand on with respect to privacy.

Also, the defamation claim is curious. I haven't ever seen a case where the the originator of the false statements is the same person suing the newspapers for making false statements.

Re:Privacy? What privacy? (2, Insightful)

Alistar (900738) | more than 6 years ago | (#24154149)

Whoa there.

If I post a picture on the internet, sure anyone can see it, but I still retain right of publication (or the perhaps the site that it is posted on depending on the legal mumbo jumbo).

If I put up a poster on a University Bulletin Board with a picture of my house saying big party, that does not give you the right to scan it in and use the picture in a news story about about the big party. You can take your own, but that is still my picture.

Same if I post a short story or poem on the internet, sure its public, anyone can see it, but its still mine.

True, copyright (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24154307)

Yes, and that is copyright law and as such there are exceptions.

Definitely didn't RTFA (2, Insightful)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 6 years ago | (#24153811)

I would be very, very surprised to learn that they weren't having sex and using drugs. 15? Rich? Sheeeit.

Wait... (1)

Drakin020 (980931) | more than 6 years ago | (#24153845)

You publish something on the internet...but you get mad when it's exposed to others?

Uh huh...

Re:Wait... (1)

sconeu (64226) | more than 6 years ago | (#24154147)

Ask Copiepresse [groklaw.net] or the AP [nytimes.com] * about it.

* warning: NYTimes link. DNA sample may be required.

If you're interested in some pics (1)

MaxInBxl (961814) | more than 6 years ago | (#24153855)

Re:If you're interested in some pics (1)

ZwJGR (1014973) | more than 6 years ago | (#24154319)

The Daily (Hate) Mail is fucking ridiculous.
A tabloid which tries to pretend that it is a broadsheet.

No surprise that most of the images show young gals. (some of the images I would not expect to be published by a self-respecting newspaper under any circumstances.) And where is the visual evidence for this supposed damage, that *is* what the article was about after all, no?

Since when did reporting mean trawling myspace/bebo/facebook/whatever for pics of half-dressed girls at parties where stuff got broken?
The state of supposedly quality media in the UK (and in many other places AFAIK) is shambolic, and shameful.

The mother has every right to sue, and she should disconnect her daughter from the internet and bash some sense into her head while she's at it.
Incompetence and stupidity galore from every angle.

Social site info not true? (1)

192939495969798999 (58312) | more than 6 years ago | (#24154059)

You mean when I read that QT_pie3478 posted that "my partiez wuz schweet y'allzzz!!!1" that in fact, her partiez may not have been schweet after all? And that in fact, that source might not be reliable? The horror! If only there were some way to tell that the source might not be reliable...

All you need to know about this story (1)

GrifterCC (673360) | more than 6 years ago | (#24154139)

is that it's a libel case in Britain. Judgment for plaintiff.

To sue for libel in Britain, you don't have to be a resident, and neither does your defendant. All you have to have is one instance of "publication" (i.e. communicating the information to a third party), and you're set.

Who said the First Amendment didn't have any teeth?

Old newspaper adage (1)

Lucas123 (935744) | more than 6 years ago | (#24154215)

"Never let the truth get in the way of a good story"

They published remarks from a 15-year-old on a social networking site. Should the newspapers be surprised they're getting sued. I don't think so.

Maybe I'm just synical but.... (1)

tecker (793737) | more than 6 years ago | (#24154281)

Wouldnt this be perfect way to make some cash?

Stay with me here:
1) Throw lavish party and get shocked by bill.
2) Post story exaggerating the facts.
3) Hope newspapers to pick up the story and run with it. (Sweet they did!)
$) Sue! Its not a real story!
5) Profit!!!!!

Call me crazy but this is really sad. I hope they dont get away with it. Whichever side is wrong.

I'm mixed. (1)

kabocox (199019) | more than 6 years ago | (#24154341)

I'm so mixed on this. I think that the papers/media were wrong to invade this individual's privacy over nothing other than rumor/fantasy. So what if the girl put it up on her social networking site? She could also put up how she is dating an alien from a UFO and has been given replicator tech and used it to build her own vacation home. Would you believe it without basic fact checking?

If my kids draw fantasy crap that they want for their next birthday and post it to myspace would the media instantly believe that I'll have real life Barbie fairies and unicorns or a real life Spiderman/Superman/Batman will attend? Come on.

Oh, but if my kids make up a story about how they've been drinking, doing drugs, having sex or being arrested though that'll be instantly believed to be true? If any one was arrested than there should be a police report on it. I know it would be beyond the average /. user to check, but we aren't generally throwing up inaccurate information to be published/viewed by everyone under the sun.

What if the media focused in on any given /. user for their comments about having a wild party last night? (O.k. It wouldn't be the media that focused on that user, but you get the concept.)

Load More Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?

Submission Text Formatting Tips

We support a small subset of HTML, namely these tags:

  • b
  • i
  • p
  • br
  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>