In Australia, it is illegal to “use a carriage service to menace, harass or cause offense,” and a 22-year-old Victoria may pay a pretty steep price for violating that statue on Facebook.
According to ABC News Australia, David McRory operated a Facebook page that rated the sexual performance of multiple women in the Bendigo, Victoria area. After the page garnered complaints from residents, McRory was charged under part 10.6 of the criminal code, which deals with telecommunications regulations. He pled guilty to publishing objectionable material online and using Facebook to offend and menace. Now, he’s been sentenced to four months in jail for the crime.
He’s currently out on bail and proceeding with an appeal of the sentence.
The page in question was titled “Bendaz Root Rate,” with “Bendaz” being a proper noun and “root” being an Australian slang expression for sex. The Register says that “root” is on par with “shag” in the UK, but not quite as inflammatory as a sexual pejorative like “f*ck.”
Not only was the content on the page deemed to be offensive and derogatory, but it reportedly contained sex ratings for girls under the age of consent.
McRory apparently had an accomplice in the maintenance of the page – another 22-year-old named Joshua Turner. He’s been banned from using Facebook for two years, and also received a six-month suspended sentence.
It’s not just the Australian government that would have a problem with this type of page. Facebook, once notified of its existence (through a user flagging it) would most likely take it down anyways, as it clearly violates their terms or service (“You will not bully, intimidate, or harass any user”).
Australia and Facebook have been in te news recently for a couple of other reasons. A couple of weeks ago, a page that targeted Australia’s Aborigine population with crude memes was removed after public pressure. And earlier this month, the country’s Advertising Standards board ruled that user comments on companies’ Facebook pages must also comply with ad rules.