Two Swedish teens convicted for Instagram insults

STOCKHOLM Tue Jun 25, 2013 12:49pm EDT

A photo illustration shows the applications Facebook and Instagram on the screen of an iPhone in Zagreb April 9, 2012. REUTERS/Antonio Bronic

A photo illustration shows the applications Facebook and Instagram on the screen of an iPhone in Zagreb April 9, 2012.

Credit: Reuters/Antonio Bronic

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STOCKHOLM (Reuters) - Two Swedish teenage girls were found guilty of defamation on Tuesday for posting sexual insults about other youngsters on the photo sharing website Instagram.

The court convicted the girls, aged 15 and 16, for writing explicit, derogatory remarks next to pictures of 38 young people, mostly girls, via an anonymous account on Instagram.

Posted in December, the comments quickly spread on the Internet before the account was shut down and caused hundreds of young people to take to the streets in Gothenburg, the teenagers' hometown, in protests that turned violent.

Cyber-bullying among young people has become an increasing concern with the growth of social media and a lawyer in the Swedish case said the convictions showed that people who post defamatory comments, believing they are anonymous, can still be vulnerable to prosecution.

"Many think they are anonymous when they are sitting behind a computer and therefore take greater liberties than if that anonymity wasn't there," the plaintiffs' attorney, Arash Raoufi, said.

"The verdict sends a signal to young people and society that this indignity culture cannot be allowed to exist. I hope it will also result in parents being more alert to what kids do at the computer," he said.

In the Gothenburg case, the plaintiffs provided screen shots of the derogatory remarks as evidence while forensic evidence tied the girls to the account.

The girls, one of whom had confessed to being behind the account while the other denied involvement, were both fined and one was also sentenced to community service.

Instagram, bought by Facebook Inc last year for $715 million, was launched in 2010 and said in March it had 10 million users.

(Reporting by Anna Ringstrom; Editing by Robin Pomeroy)

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Comments (2)
DougAnderson wrote:
Ah, the Nordic countries. The last bastion of free speech.

Jun 25, 2013 3:02pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
Viking13 wrote:
You ought to have a look at the custody cases in Sweden.
The counterpart to CAFCASS in Sweden are partial to the mothers side.

The mother can abduct the children without being convicted.
Slander, defamation and perjury is accpeted in courts in Sweden even if everyone understands it there is nothing made about it.

Courts can harrass the fathers completely and even remove any contact with the children for the fathers without any eveidence.

A case is usually handled like this:
1. A smaller court hearing without any evidence is held at first instance. This is where the women present defamations, slander and any accusations of that the fathers are violent or have made sexual approaches to the children. Immediately the father lose the contact with the children and one year later the custody goes to the mother without any penalties for false accusations.

2. The main hearing. Then the father is harrassed by the counterpart to CAFCASS and they make a silly report where they usually present lies and defamations against the fathers. The system is also leveraged around that if the mother does not cooperate with the father the father lose the custody and many times also the contact with the child because the law reward non cooperation and usually the mother has gained the custody. The mother can also tell the court that the father sould have a contact person while meeting the child and in that case the father will give up and the child lose the custody.

Sweden is worse than the Kafka process or the Spanish inquisition. If the father isn’t guilty they make him by provoking him, messing around and only listen to the mothers.
Sweden is a joke when it comes to the courts. The judges are idiots and don’t understand the simplest things in custody cases.

So stop believeing that Sweden is a dream state. That’s the facade. Behind it, it is worse than any nightmare you can dream of.

Jun 30, 2013 10:58am EDT  --  Report as abuse
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