Should we be prevented from speaking our minds on the internet?  Can we say whatever we wish without fear of prosecution or persecution?

Here’s a case of the bullied pushing back:

A beauty school in Illinois is suing a student for his “defamatory” comments on a Facebook site that encouraged students to vent about their instructors.

The Salon Professional Academy of Elgin, Ill., says Nicholas Blacconiere created a site called Tspa RobinHood that looked similar to TSPA Elgin’s Facebook page because it used the academy’s logo. The suit, filed in July, also says that he posted libelous comments about school officials on the site.

Does it matter that profanity was used against the beauty school?

Should we care if pernicious lies and sexual innuendo were a part of the online bashing of the beauty school?

If we aren’t required by the law to be truth tellers backed up by facts in our everyday private lives — should we punish those who publicly snipe at us online with harmful intent?


  1. When I was in high school (I’m about to date myself), my mother said the great thing about this country was that you could march up and down the streets with signs that said, “Down with President Clinton!” and you wouldn’t be arrested and put in Siberia.
    I guess it’s one thing if a newspaper prints libel — but venting on Facebook seems like another. I think the only thing the school has going for it is that the group decided to use something similar to their logo — that might confuse people into thinking they are looking at an official school page.

  2. I think the truth has to play some part in it, Gordon. To be against an idea has many truths. To suggest an illicit affair that never happened is something else.

  3. Certainly. The site should prune out such entries and leave entries actually related to the school – like saying that course xyz is too difficult or intense.

  4. I agree, Gordon! Then comes the problem of name calling. Your favorite teacher is someone else’s most hated enemy. Then what? Do we allow any and all public venting in the name of free speech even if that expression is hateful and hurting?

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