[28 April update Legal letter freaks out Big News]
I’ve just been to Big News and there’s a very interesting post that I reckon a couple of legal eagles might like to take a look at.
It seems that someone’s been a very naughty boy – and totally stupid to boot.
Someone has been posing as a number of senior New Zealand journalists to post comments on a Big News blog item and, apart from being very peurile, it strikes me as possibly worthy of a legal challenge.
Big News names the culprit as a student journo at Victoria University in Wellington. Michael Oliver is the news editor of the Vic Uni student mag, Salient.
[30 April update:
Big News wrote: I can now reveal that those comments on this blog were done in the offices of Salient, and a Salient volunteer has taken the rap. I doubt whether this volunteer was alone. I was advised today, after being threatened with a defamation suit by the Victoria University Student's Association(VUWSA) two days earlier, that current editor Jackson Wood was "aware of it" and knew "who is responsible" after initially writing to me denying any knowledge of the spamming.]
If I was Mark Sainsbury, or Carol Hirschfeld, or Tony Veitch, or Zoe Halford, or Mike McRoberts, or Glenda Hughes, or Dave’s mum, I’d want to take the jerk who did this outside for a quite talk and a noisy thumping. Or maybe I’d just sue the arse of the little turd who is responsible. You can view his/her handiwork on this post at Big News
If it is Michael Oliver then he’s Whoever did this has got some serious navel gazing to do and I certainly hope s/he doesn’t want a job in the New Zealand media when he graduates.
[material deleted by EM 30/4/2009]
If the perp is this person then he the responsible Salient volunteer appears to have no respect for others.
It seems that Michael Oliver is also not averse to slotting fake stories into his own publication. I don’t know, maybe you could argue it’s satire, but if so, it ain’t very clever or original. Salient is not The Onion
I have a strong affection for student newspapers and was editor of Honi Soit at Sydney University back in the day, but the Internet lets stupid people do stupid stuff.
One of my graduate students from 2008, Alice Neville, has written a couple of stories for the NZ Herald about some lunatic setting up fake Twitter accounts in the names of Kiwi journos, including gossip columnist Rachel Glucina. Perhaps for more malicious purposes than those that could be ascribed to this loser who’s blog trolling at Big News, but whoever does it, it’s a shameful practice. When I checked tonight there was a Twitter account in the name of Rachel Glucina, it’s “champagnaholic”, but there are no tweets attached. Strange business.
And, Alice also mentioned that New Zealand politicians are also being imposted (?) on Twitter.
There seems to be something of a techno-legal time-gap here too. Twitter won’t reveal who the faker is, citing privacy rules. Now that’s funny. But a fake Mark Sainsbury Twitter account has been taken down. Impersonation is a terms of service violation.
This is another darkside to social networking, perhaps not as bad as the Witches of Facebook, but disturbing, none-the-less.