In a suburban community about 45 minutes south of Boston, the Plymouth County District Attorney is prosecuting two recent graduates of Norwell High School on criminal charges for identity fraud.
Aaron Mayers, 17, and Nicholas Gacicia, 18, are charged with allegedly creating a Facebook profile about a freshman girl, publishing her name and picture, and describing her in sexually lewd ways.
I attended high school many years before the World Wide Web went vogue and so I can only imagine the competition and pressures today’s youth have with the ability to create Facebook profiles, upload YouTube videos, and the like.
Are kids frowned upon by their peers if they lack the know-how or desire to be online?
Legal experts, according to Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly, say this case is the first in the state involving identity fraud on Facebook.
“It’s an open forum for students to have encounters without being face-to-face,” high school principal Michael Keegan told the Patriot Ledger.
If convicted of the misdemeanor, the Norwell teens face up to 30 months in prison and a $5,000 fine.
“The biggest problem is that anyone at any time can set up a false profile without the other user’s knowledge and post anything they like,” said technology consultant Graham Cluley in the Evening Standard.
The London paper reported that Kerry Harvey, 23, found a fake Facebook profile of her as a prostitute. It included her name, photograph, date of birth, and cell number.
Harvey, an advertising executive, is naturally upset.
Harvey doesn’t know who forged it but odds are great due to the content included that the pundit or prankster is someone she knows well.
“It’s an anonymous way of posting things about people without detection,” Cluley said. “Millions of people use Facebook, which is always going to leave users susceptible to this sort of thing.”
My Facebook profile contains my name, assorted pictures, and links to my website and my Twitter feed but not much else. I include the month and day of my birth, but not my year. I include my email address but that’s all over the web anyway. But I don’t include mailing addresses or phone numbers or other means of contact.
I can only guess what (im)mature teens put online.