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In the Media

Judge dismisses case against Internet troll

article:316268:5::0
By Owen Weldon
Dec 18, 2011 in World
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A federal judge ruled that posting comments that are considered obsessive and creepy on Twitter is protected under the constitution.
Comments on Twitter, that are considered to be creepy, obsessive and even insane, are considered a constitutional right, according to a judge.
Between 2008 and 2010, William Lawrence Cassidy went on Twitter and harassed a Buddhist leader named Alyce Zeoli. According to Gawker, Cassidy sent more than 8,000 disturbing messages that were directed at Zeoli. Cassidy posted messages saying such things as “"Do the world a favor and go kill yourself. P.S. Have a nice day" and another one that said "Ya like haiku? Here's one for ya. Long limb, sharp saw, hard drop”. Cassidy was then arrested in August under a new federal anti-stalking law
Zeoli was based in Maryland and Cassidy was based in California, according to PC Magazine. Zeoli said that she suffered emotional distress because of the tweets. She also said that she feared for her own safety and she also did not leave her house for a whole year and a half, unless she went to visit her psychiatrist.
On Thursday Judge Rodger W. Titus ruled in favor of Cassidy, saying that Twitter is different than other types of communication methods such as phone calls and emails. They are different because a person on Twitter can simply ignore posts. The ruling was 27 pages, and in the ruling he compared Twitter to bulletin boards erected in front yards of colonial-era citizens.
According to Forbes, the judge also said that Zeoli is considered a public figure because she is a religious leader. He also said that she could have avoided the comments by not looking at Cassidy’s Tweets.
Twitter can be considered one of the kindest places for people to harass others because posts from Twitter are not indexed by the search engines. This means that a person’s post does not show up in search engines.
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