* Girls, aged 15 and 16, posted anonymous comments on photos
* Lawyer says shows anonymous bullying can be punished
STOCKHOLM, June 25 Two Swedish teenage girls
were found guilty of defamation on Tuesday for posting sexual
insults about other youngsters on the photo sharing website
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
concer 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,
"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