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back to article Morocco jails Facebook faker

A Moroccan IT engineer has been jailed for three years for setting up a fake Facebook profile impersonating a member of the country's royal family. The jail time was handed down on Friday by a court in Casablanca, which had found Fouad Mourtada guilty of "usurping the identity of HRH Prince Moulay Rachid". The 26-year-old was …

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Unhappy

Kind of mixed feelings

I have kind of mixed feelings about it.

On one hand... well, I don't think that impersonating someone is (or should be) valid freedom of speech.

Critique, ridicule, parody, jokes, etc, OK, I can see how a public personality shouldn't be shielded from those. But the key there is that they make clear which is, basically, the critic's own opinion and interpretation of it. You're free to disagree with him, and even to think he's a whiny retard.

Impersonation? Nope, sorry. Other than causing disproportionate distress, and a bunch of other problems, I don't see what's the public benefit from that.

And by other problems i mean: think, basically of someone "impersonating" you and mortgaging your house. Or submitting some fake data in your name. It's you who have to deal with the resulting crap. Impersonating a politician is exactly the same: any diplomatic or political fallout, well, he gets to have to sort that crap out.

Worse yet, a whole country can get to deal with the resulting crap. Government actions and opinions get whole countries to be weary of each other. Think posting some racist crap while impersonating your favourite company's CEO, and think of the fallout that would cause for the company. Now think the same for a head of state, and the same fallout is now the problem of a whole country.

Basically, I think "Bush is a retard" or "I bet Bush gets a hard-on from starting wars" is, and should be, covered by freedom of speech. But they also make clear that it's _my_ opinion. But, basically, "Hi, I'm Bush. I was diagnosed with Down's Syndrome as a kid. And I think Real Men aren't afraid of a war. We still learn about the Romans, don't we? I never got this pinko-commie-liberal peace obsession." is a whole other matter. It gives an air of official truth to it. More importantly, the whole concept of justice and fairness involves there being two sides to any issue and hearing both; impersonating someone already tries to replace their side of the story too.

On the other hand, well, it seems to me like they do use it more like censorship than anything else. I don't see it justified as impersonation being fundamentally wrong, but rather as having offended his sacrosanct majesty. I would have thought we're a couple of centuries too late for that.

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pretty stupid thing to do

I know in this country you'd probably end up on the front page of the sun newspaper.... but a lot of countries out there take a really dim view to insulting royalty. destroying currency can be seen as defacing the king/queens image in some places and can get you arrested. some countries, you wouldn't even want to say anything defamatory out aloud.

Now I know this isn't right, but still if you lived there would you do it? I didn't think so. Its like going up to a US customs officical and saying your a terrorist for a joke. They take it too seriously sure, but does that mean you should do it. Sorry, but a pretty stupid thing to do IMO.

p.s. I'm not a asshole, I DO hope that they reduce his sentence.

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Anonymous Coward

Mohammed

So who's going to be the first to get the death penalty for setting up a facebook page as Mohammed?

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Paris Hilton

Awwwhhhh...

Now I'm pissed off, I thought the Purple one had managed to get someone locked up for an unauthorised parody, but it turns out it's just a jumped up member of the privileged classes in a country that doesn't do free speech getting arsey about someone taking the mick.

Paris, because she's been banged up (in more ways than one)

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@ Hans Mustermann

"Hi, I'm Bush. I was diagnosed with Down's Syndrome as a kid. And I think Real Men aren't afraid of a war. We still learn about the Romans, don't we? I never got this pinko-commie-liberal peace obsession."

Sorry, not credible. It's too coherent, contains words with more than two syllables, and isn't sufficiently aggressive; you entirely left out the part about "A dictatorship would be a good thing, as long as I was the dictator," and "anyone opposed to us sending their kids off to die for Dick Cheney's oil profits is a terrorist."

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and no one would blink twice

if there was (probably is) a fake Bush profile out there, saying stupid leftist stuff, what would the Media report? Now if anyone from the Bush family or administration even asked the user to grow up and stop, what do you think the Media would do? What do you think the majority of responses here would be?

Sure as hell wouldn't be "well, they take the office of President seriously" or "well, it didn't sound like him".

Yeah, America's the land of censorship, of oppression of free speech. That's why so many idiots are being carted off to getmo and so many morons are "disappearing"...oh wait, that isn't happening. That's everywhere else-usually the same nations that people are posting from pointing fingers at America.

heaven help if someone made the "mistake" of doing the same for Clinton or Obama...the lawyers would have the perp killed in court for "fraud".

Only thing worse will be the first poor soul who happens to be named Mohammed...I await CAIR's official protest/threat letter to Myspace/facebook banning anyone from using the name Mohammed.

I used to know two fake Jesus ones. And one real one. Two are offensive anti-Christian slurs delivered with the sophisticated scatological wit only a moron or elementary school kid could come up with. The third, well, he's third generation hispanic, waterskiing is his only lake-crossing miracle, and at his age, doesn't really appreciate wine. No death threats to any of these profiles, yet.

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Flame

The Interwebs

omg! Do people lie when they put things on the Internet?

I am shocked and dismayed. Let me guess, there is porn there too.

Where is my coat, it's the one with the white cane and guide dog in the pocket.

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Dead Vulture

@The Aussie Paradox

That people lie about themselves, is one thing. That people lie about someone else, is already distasteful. I know it can't be stopped, but it _is_ distasteful, and we already have libel and slander laws that cover that. That someone would impersonate someone else to ruin their reputation, thus giving their libel an air of official truth too, I find the most distasteful of all.

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