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British cyber bully sentenced

Sept. 13, 2011 at 9:17 PM

READING, England, Sept. 13 (UPI) -- A British man, found guilty of bullying on social networking Web sites, will serve 18 weeks in jail, officials say.

Sean Duffy of Reading, Berkshire, pleaded guilty to two counts of sending a communication of an indecent or offensive nature after posting taunting messages on Facebook and YouTube about young girls who had died, the BBC reported Tuesday. In one case, he made derogatory remarks about 15-year-old Natasha MacBryde on a remembrance page set up in her honor. MacBryde had killed herself because of unrelated incidences of bullying.

Duffy called the girl a slut on Facebook and in a YouTube posting, he altered a video of Thomas the Tank Engine to include MacBryde's face on the cartoon character.

Fevzi Turkalp, a technology expert at gadgetdetective.com, says Duffy's behavior is known as trolling, a term meant to describe individuals who make comments on Web sites in order to incite an angry response.

"People feel protected by anonymity and the true nature of people comes to the fore," Turkalp said.

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