20 November 2007

"She lives in Canada, I met her at Niagara Falls. You wouldn't know her."

An oblique reference to the classic "The Breakfast Club". In that film, the socially-inept Brian (Anthony Michael Hall) claims he has been laid numerous times. When pressed for details, he stumbles, "She lives in Canada, I met her at Niagara Falls. You wouldn't know her." The tongue-in-cheek notion that Niagara Falls is the home to imaginary girlfriends has since taken root in the culture at large; to suggest that someone's girlfriend lives in the Niagara Falls region is to imply that she doesn't really exist.

Anywho, this story is totally fucked.

The story takes place in sleepy Dardenne Prairie, Missouri; a community of about 7,000 residents about 35 miles from St. Louis.

But in MySpace Land and its 70 million residents, people are not always who they say they are...
So a 13-year-old girl named Megan Meier, who suffered from depression and A.D.D., thought she had made a new friend in cyberspace when a cute teenage boy named Josh contacted her on MySpace and began exchanging messages with her.

Megan corresponded with Josh for more than a month before he abruptly ended their friendship, telling her he had heard she was "cruel" and that the world "would be a better place without her".

The next day Megan committed suicide; she hung herself in her bedroom.

Her family learned later that Josh never actually existed; he was created by members of a neighbourhood family that included a former friend of Megan's.

The woman who created the fake profile has not been charged with a crime, yet. She allegedly told the cops she created the fake profile because she wanted to gain Megan's confidence to know what Megan was saying about her own child online.


Megan's mother, Tina Meier, said she doesn't think anyone involved intended for her daughter to kill herself. "But when adults are involved and continue to screw with a 13-year-old, with or without mental problems, it is absolutely vile," she said.

Megan's parents said Megan received a message from "Josh" on October 15, essentially saying he didn't want to be her friend anymore, that he had heard she wasn't nice to her friends.

The next day, Megan's mother knew Megan was upset about something on MySpace. She asked Megan to log off. Megan told her mom someone using Josh's account was sending cruel messages.

Then, Megan told her mother that MySpace bulletins were now being posted about her, saying things like, "Megan Meier is a slut" and "Megan Meier is fat."

Megan ran upstairs. Her father, Ron, tried to tell her everything would be fine.

About 20 minutes later, she was found in her bedroom, hanging in the closet.

She died the next day.

About six weeks after Megan's funeral, a neighbour told the Meiers "Josh Evans" never existed and the MySpace account was created by a mother of a former classmate of Megan.

And that is when they learned "Josh" was imaginary! Can you imagine?!

Megan was especially excited about making the connection on MySpace with a boy who called himself "Josh Evans", a 16-year old who claimed to live nearby. He even included a picture.

Josh showered Megan with compliments online. Tina Meier says Josh would tell her how beautiful her eyes were, what a great person she was on a daily basis.

According to a Sheriff's Department report, the evil mother and her daughter typed, read and monitored Megan's exchanges with their creation: "Josh."

The mother who ran the "Josh" account told deputies she "aimed at gaining Megan's confidence and finding out what Megan felt about her daughter and other people."

Megan's parents are now separated and plan to divorce.

MySpace is unbelievable. The rise of all these social-networking sites over the past few years has left an indelible mark on our society. It has forced us to face situations that simply did not and could not have existed before the advent of "social-networking". These sites have, quite simply, rewired our fucking world for better or for worse.

There have been many casualties in the shrinking of our world; the death of trust, the murder of real-life social skills, and the death of this confused 13-year old girl from Missouri.

I suppose you can chalk it all up as collateral damage for Rupert Murdoch, Tom Anderson and Chris DeWolfe.

In fact, the corporate history of MySpace has been a matter of some public dispute. When MySpace was purchased by News Corp. they also gained control of the editor's account (the Tom Anderson profile) from which all service announcements are made.

Such announcements are not from "Tom Anderson" personally but from the corporate owned identity. It has even been claimed that Tom Anderson's role and image as MySpace founder and "first friend" is a public relations invention.

This 'image invention' has been criticised for its similarities to George Orwell's Big Brother.


Megan Meier (13) hung herself in her closet after becoming the victim of cyber-bullying {MyDeathSpace}

A real person, A real death {Suburban Journals}

Megan's MySpace page

No comments: