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Online forum harassment

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Online forum harassment

Postby Jammiedodger59 » Mon Jul 02, 2012 8:00 pm

I joined a car enthusiast site three years ago and everything seemed to be fine up to a point. In recent months all the discussion forum members seemed to have a dig at me or pick on things I say and the problem started to go downhill from there. I stood up for myself but then one by one more and more of the members turned against me and I thought nothing of it so I joined another similar site and only went back to give advice. Then the problem was about to get worse and it ended with a thread where all the users turned against me. One of the users managed to hack into my facebook with the aid of either one of the admin or a corrupt moderator and got hold of all my personal information which I kept private well away from public between people I choose to add as friends. This user then passed it around the members in the forum and it opened up floodgates into all my personal information which they posted up in the thread for everyone to see which contained pictures of me, my partner, work pictures and any other information they could find. The members then found out my name and they continued to post pictures of me 'For a laugh' thinking it was taking the mickey out of me when I wasn't offended by any of it. I was absolutely mortified more than anything because all my personal pictures were shared with the public where everyone could see it and I kept everything private. I asked for it to be stopped and I made an empty legal threat telling them I would go to the Police if it carries on hoping that it would end up being deleted. But it only made the problem worse and the moderator then banned me for making "A legal threat" and I thought once I had been banned they would eventually get bored and move on. Only they didn't the Facebook posting continued and the problems were even worse and they were festering like untreated wounds and now that they had corrupt moderators backing them up on their side its not going to stop. I deactivated facebook in the hope that the main source of information was killed but the problem hasn't stopped because they are still searching on the internet and finding other sources to post about me from everywhere. I'm fearing the worst and its not the members I am worrying about, I genuinely fear that someone else might get hold of this information that could be a dangerous person and they could come after me on the beliefs of how my character has been portrayed by these people. I'm also fearing that the 'Naming and shaming' could spread further and the problem could worsen. Because the moderators refuse to delete the thread its still up there to fester.

On the legal side of things they seem to be acting within the law and according to things I've seen over the internet they seem to be allowed to do this with the aid of a moderator because it is not classed as libel, abusive language, swearing or threats its just public naming and shaming with derrogatory remarks and personal postings made about me (Some have been homaphobic). Everything they've done seems to slip through the net with the Defamation act, Malicious Communications act, Harassment and intimidation and it all seems frightfully corrupt because its giving me a bad reputation and I am fearing that members of the public are reading what they are putting about me and this could lead to reprisals from people who don't know who I am.

If the moderators aren't deleting threads because they have no legal obligation to do so, it is only going to stay up there and fester. I'm not sure what to do about this as its not technically breaking the law on the forums part and I feel that I can't go to the Police about it and I feel to embarassed to say anything because I'm a guy and people will tell me to man up. But are these people allowed to do this sort of thing?
I work full time and I have an excellent social life with my friends and my family and I know these people don't have a clue what my relationship with my work colleagues is like, how I work, what my relationship with my family is like, what happens in my family, who my nan and grandad are they just know snippets of information compared to how my life really is but its way out of hand now and only one or two of the users told them "Isn't it enough now" and "havn't you got anything else better to do than post facebook things about him" and they seem to instantly turn on the members who talk reasonably and they scare them into ganging up aginst me with vindictive bullying tactics "We'll disown you" or "We'll turn against you" and those members feel they have to back away and join in to stay in with the member acceptance.

I just want it to stop once the thread is deleted I can rest but they insist on keeping it there to use it to bully me.
Jammiedodger59
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Re: Online forum harassment

Postby WiseMonkey » Tue Jul 03, 2012 12:03 am

Hi Jammiedodger59,

I am sorry you had such horrific experience on that forum. This sounds like a nightmare. It doesn't look though that they are fine with the law. It's illegal to hack someone's FB account just like it's illegal to hack emails. Also, I would think it's illegal to spread around pictures and personal information about you they obtained by hacking your FB account. If this is information that you shared with them on the forum or made public on FB, then there is probably nothing you can do about it. If some of the information they are spreading came from your FB private, not public account, then I think you have a legal case, but you have to consult with the lawyer about it. These are just my guesses. Find some attorney through google search that deals with online privacy and tell them about this situation.

I am sorry that moderators of that forum didn't make any effort to keep the forum safe. Up to some extend though personal safety is always compromised when people go on public forums and everyone should be aware of it. I doubt though that anyone would try to harm you physically based on a false representation of your character. I just don't see the incentive for doing that. This looks like just a cyber bullying. Consult with a lawyer. It's the best you can do.

WM
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Re: Online forum harassment

Postby Jammiedodger59 » Sun Jul 08, 2012 10:32 am

Thank you very much for finding the time to respond. The advice you have given me is extremely helpful and its very much appreciated. My timeline and information on Facebook was kept private to the public and the information was only viewable to an audience once a friend request had been accepted only by me. One of the forum members said they had 'A little help' getting hold of my personal information which could have only been obtainable by hacking?

Update: The post still has not been scrapped or deleted by the moderators or the administration staff it is still up there for public viewing and it is still wide open for further attacks.

The problem that I have now is proving that they hacked my account to obtain this information which I assume the hacking could be trackable/tracable?

Once again thank you very much for your advice. Now that I know it could be a violation of the law I am more than happy to go down the legal route and update you on the situation.

Many thanks

Jammiedodger
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Re: Online forum harassment

Postby WiseMonkey » Sun Jul 08, 2012 6:37 pm

One more thing. Take a look at this website http://www.cyberbullying.org I haven't read everything on it but it looks like this might be a helpful resource for you. By the way, the owner of that forum you went may also be liable if those who violated your privacy came from his website. Search through legal resources. Good luck.

WM
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