Gossip Site More Hurtful Than Entertaining

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Gossip may be a typical part of life on college campuses across America.

But one Internet site is taking the campus rumor mill nationwide with no consequences for anyone, except the victims.

Gossip Web sites used to be about the latest happenings in the celebrity world.

But now some people are feeling free to gossip about their friends or even people they don't know.

That's Juicycampus.com.

But what was supposedly started as an entertainment site for college students has turned into a center for hateful, racist and even malicious rantings.

Most of the postings on the site are not even suitable to discuss on television.

Posters are free to say people's full names, and give personal information without any accountability.

"A lot of kids who would never, ever cross the line are crossing it because it's easy," cybercrime and privacy attorney, Parry Aftab said.

And once posts are on the site they can't be removed.

One university student whose reputation was smeared on the Web site feels helpless.

"It's disgusting what's written. The language is extremely pornographic and degrading," she said. "And it really angers me that the person who wrote this doesn't have to leave a name, they are completely anonymous."

In fact, Juicy Campus boasts that posts are totally 100 percent anonymous.

They say "it is not possible for anyone to use this Web site to find out who you are or where you are located."

They even give advice on how to block any outside traces to your computer.

But concerned groups are taking notice.

Many are fearful of the cyber bullying that's lead to 10 suicides in the last five years.

Several universities are working to block access to Juicy Campus on their campuses.

Pepperdine's student body president, Andy Conales, says the site is a serious issue.

"The Web site is very dangerous there are sexist, homophobic, racist, violent hateful posts that target and single out individuals," he said.

Juicy Campus founder Matt Ivester responded in a blog that the site is meant for entertainment and not for tearing people down.

But the states of New Jersey and Connecticut are still getting involved.

New Jersey's attorney general says Juicy Campus may violate the state's Consumer Fraud Act, and prosecutors have subpoenaed the Web site's company records.

But Juicy Campus insists it's not violating any laws, stating in an online response:

"We consider the attorney general's conduct to constitute a heavy handed attempt by the government to....interfere with the free speech rights of our users."

Still lawyers caution students to think twice before making hateful posts about other people.

Under a new cyber stalking law those postings could be consider harrassment.

"You're leaving a trail of cyber bread crumbs to your computer every time you're accessing the Internet," Aftab said. "Prosecutors will find you... police will find you."

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CBN News
Cinde Beacham and Charlene Israel

Cinde Beacham and Charlene Israel

CBN News Reporter

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