This extends far beyond your basic rick roller or "first" commenter.
Today, Self-titled "troll" Bradley Paul Hampson, a 29 year old Brisbane resident, plead guilty to the possession and distribution of child exploitation material as well as using the internet to menace, harass or cause offense. Hampson was sentenced to three years in jail, which was lowered to 1 year by the judge. He's already served 7 months behind bars, so he should be out in September.
Hampson trolled the Facebook pages dedicated to two dead children last February, shopping pictures to include insensitive and profane images as well as posting comments to the page under an assumed name. He chose to post as an old schoolmate, who he said had been bullied as a child, according to the Brisbane Times.
On the Facebook page for a dead 12 year old boy, Hampson posted pictures of the child with "w00t I'm dead" written across his face as well as inside a woodchipper, blood spray and all. On the page for a dead 8 year old girl, he implied that he raped and killed her, saying "My definition of pleasure... listening to her ribs crack. I got mad ... so I murdered her."
Uh, not cool dude.
When the officials searched his personal computer, they found more shopped photos, including ones of two dead British children with penises superimposed on their faces.
Mr. Hampson becomes the second high profile case of a Facebook troll landing hard time for their work. Just last October, a Manchester man was jailed for posting that he had sex with the dead bodies of Big Brother star Jane Goody and a boy mauled by a dog on their Facebook tribute pages. He was convicted through the Communications Act that the Parliament passed in 2003 which prohibits "malicious communications" on the internet.
It is undeniable that the actions of these trolls are in incredibly poor taste and are not funny in the slightest, but just how criminal are they? In Australia and England, apparently quite criminal. In a related but not exactly comparable case, an American woman was cleared after being accused of causing the suicide of a young girl through Myspace bullying. Is being mean really a crime? Do these actions go far enough beyond meanness and distaste that they require punishment by the law?
Tell us what you think.