Recently, I blogged about the tragic Megan Meier case, where the parent of a classmate of Megan’s created a fake MySpace profile and pretended to be a boy (Josh Evans) interested in Megan. When the fictitious boy suddenly dumped Megan and wrote nasty comments, Megan committed suicide. A local newspaper reported the story, which quickly caught fire in the media. The local reporter declined to identify the woman who created the fake profile, fearing vigilantism, but a woman named Sarah Wells posted the woman’s name — Lori Drew — and her address. Soon, the blogosphere was aflame in rage at Drew. Recently, the local prosecutor considered bringing charges against Drew but ultimately concluded that Drew had not committed any crime.
Now there’s a new twist in the case. On a blog called “Megan Had It Coming” is a post purportedly written by Lori Drew.
The blogger, who claims to be Drew, writes a lengthy essay explaining her side of the story [link no longer available]:
It’s time I dropped the charade. Yes, I made this blog. Yes, I’m Lori Drew.
My daughter had nothing to do with this. Everyone needs to leave her alone. None of you can possibly know her involvement, and none of you can possibly know what she’s gone through. She’s just a kid. She doesn’t deserve these brutal verbal attacks. Please stop.
Now that Mr. Banas has made public the announcement that there will be no charges filed against me or my family, I feel it is time to speak out about this tragic affair. I cannot count on any media organization to fairly represent my story, as they have grossly misrepresented and sensationalized the story so far. So, I must present my case here, on the blog that has been my only outlet. . . .
Then Sarah Wells outed me. Then the hate and harassment and threats poured in. Even against my daughter. First there were dozens of calls, then hundreds, then there was national news, and everyone went crazy.
That’s why I started this blog and posted as “Kirsten.” I was so angry at the world for being so unfair, especially when it came to my daughter whom I had sworn to protect from all of this. I took a low blow at Megan’s memory because I desperately wanted the world to at least get a glimpse of the truth.
But that’s all over now. The final word from authorities has come down that there will be no charges, so I don’t have to remain silent. There’s no point in hiding anymore. The internet has made it clear that mob revenge must prevail, even if there’s no justice in it. So be it.
Here I am, internet. Come get me.
There’s a lot more in the post, which has over 1800 comments. Is this really Lori Drew? The Internet makes it so easy to spread information — in anyone’s name — that it could be Drew or just some imposter.
Hat tip: Prettier than Napoleon, who writes that the “blog is almost certainly a hoax (any competent attorney would have put the kibosh on it), but does it matter? Regardless of authenticity, it acts as a lightning rod for outrage, and the reputation of the purported author is already shredded.”
UPDATE: The blog is indeed a hoax.
Originally Posted at Concurring Opinions
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This post was authored by Professor Daniel J. Solove, who through TeachPrivacy develops computer-based privacy training, data security training, HIPAA training, and many other forms of awareness training on privacy and security topics. Professor Solove also posts at his blog at LinkedIn. His blog has more than 1 million followers.