US town passes online bullying law

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A US town has passed a local law making cyber-harassment a crime following the death of a teenager who may have been harassed into suicide by comments made online..

Megan Meier was 13 when she began chatting online with someone calling themselves 'Josh'.

'Josh' was in fact the mother of a former friend of Meier's who was angry at the 13 year-old's treatment of her daughter.

The neighbour kept up the pretence for over a month before insulting Meier, posting messages about her on various sites and telling her that the world would be a better place without her. Meier hanged herself the next day.

Meier's home town of Dardenne Prairie has now created a law which makes cyber-harassment a misdemeanour with a maximum penalty of 90 days in jail and/or a US$500 fine.

Meanwhile the internet community has turned on the woman who created the online persona. Bloggers have posted details of her and her husband online, a brick has been thrown through their window and their house has been hit by paintball pellets.

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