A 49-year-old Missouri woman is being tried in Federal Court in Los Angeles for posing as a young boy and taunting a 13-year-old girl on the social networking site MySpace, leading the girl to hang herself. The woman was charged with conspiracy and violations of the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA). This case is the first time the CFAA is being used in a social networking case.
Prosecutors say Lori Drew created a fake MySpace under the name of “Josh Evans” and initiated a fake friendship with Megan Meier. Drew later used the account to send cruel messages to Meier, culminating in an October 2006 message stating “the world would be a better place without you.” After receiving the message, Meier hanged herself and died the following day.
MySpace prohibits the use of fraudulent registration information, the use of accounts to obtain personal information about juvenile users, the use of the site to harass, abuse, or harm other users, and the promotion of false or misleading information.
Drew pleaded not guilty at trial. If found guilty, she could serve up to 5 years for the conspiracy count and up to five years for each of the three CFAA charges. Since the news of Drew’s alleged actions became public, she has been the victim of cyberbullying.