Facebook 'Suck Sites' Have Their Day in Court

Defamation lawsuit against angry student may set a precedent
By Wesley Oliver,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 19, 2009 3:20 PM CDT
A Facebook login page is seen on a computer screen in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada Thursday, August 27, 2009.   (AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Adrian Wyld)
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(Newser) – A lawsuit filed by administrators at an Illinois beauty school may set a precedent regarding so-called “suck sites,” the Chicago Tribune reports. Nicholas Blacconiere, a student at the Salon Professional Academy of Elgin, welcomed classmates to criticize teachers on a Facebook page. After students posted accusations of teacher incompetence and promiscuity, administrators claimed emotional damage and filed suit for $50,000.

"Suck site" challenges have met with mixed success so far, and there hasn't yet been a landmark school-vs.-student online defamation case. One expert says that while students like Blacconiere should be allowed self-expression, there are limits: If they "get online and defame and destroy the reputation of someone else, or basically inflict severe emotional distress, yep, they can be held libel."