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Instagram user impersonates child, bullies her friends

Instagram User Impersonates Child, Bullies Her Friends

We've all been told to watch what we say on the Internet because it can't always be erased -- but what if the things you're supposedly saying aren't actually coming from you at all?

Internet impersonators are nothing new. Twitter accounts imitating stars such as Johnny Manziel and Will Farrell have hundreds of thousands of followers. The difference, though, is people are in on the joke.

This story is about the impersonation of a regular person - worse yet, a child.

ABC says Arizona mother Brooke Barr was surprised to see her 12-year-old daughter Reve had liked one of Barr's posts on Instagram. Barr had made it clear that Reve wasn't allowed to use Instagram. At first she thought Reve's dad had let her have an account -- but she definitely didn't.

"The impersonator used photos from Brooke's account. Then came the phone calls from Reve's friends, claiming they'd been sent nasty messages."

ABC quoted Reve saying: "It makes me feel kind of sad and just weird. I don't know why someone would do this to me, and hurt me and my friends."

Reve's mother vowed to the bullying victims she would track down the impersonator. Unfortunately, that might be easier said than done. KNXV reports:

"Gilbert police told Brooke that because Reve was not directly harassed, she is not considered a victim."

According to ProPublica, police can track IP addresses if a judge issues a subpoena or search warrant. But in this case, they can only act if Reve's friends request legal action.

If Reve's friends do so, though, the impersonator would likely only face charges of cyberbullying. At this time, Arizona has no law against impersonation over the Internet.

House Bill 2004 was introduced to the Arizona House of Representatives in 2013. The bill's objective was to criminalize cyber impersonation "with the intent to harm, defraud, intimidate, or threaten." The bill, however, died in committee.

The Huffington Post reported critics of the bill thought the phrase "intent to harm" could easily be interpreted too broadly, and this could endanger citizens' first-amendment rights.

The article did say Texas, New York, California, and Washington have all approved anti-Internet impersonation laws. Only time will tell if, or when, more states will join.


Join the discussion

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tmccull52 June 16 2014 at 7:50 AM

I don't "Tweet". I don't post things via Instagram. I don't "hashtag" anything. I don't have a Facebook page, and I dont want, or miss, any of it.

Flag Reply +35 rate up
14 replies
dennismlns June 16 2014 at 10:18 AM

Not a victim??? I could have swarn it fell under IDENTITY THEFT! using someone elses identity to do ANYTHING IS IDENTITY THEFT!!!

Flag Reply +13 rate up
1 reply
Ephes415 dennismlns June 16 2014 at 1:48 PM

Actually please re-read the law. Impersonation with the intent to commit fraud or equivalent acts is crime. If your post were true, there would thousands of celebrity impersonators going to jail.

Flag Reply +1 rate up
mike711l June 16 2014 at 7:00 AM

The law is so far behind the internet it's not even funny. Probably because the lawmakers are so far behind the times they don't understand it.

Remember, "the internet is a series of tubes". Thank you former Senator Ted Stevens (R-Alaska) for making things so clear.

Flag Reply +7 rate up
1 reply
gramos555 mike711l June 16 2014 at 7:09 AM

I agree the law doesn't keep up, but in this particular case, what do expect the police to do? Arrest someone for pretending to be someone else and 'liking' a photo online?

Creepy, yes, but that's it.

What's the crime?

BTW, I suggest you retire that Ted Stevens quote, since it was uttered more than 8 years ago, and Stevens died more than 5 years ago.

Flag Reply +4 rate up
4 replies
bigspin7 June 16 2014 at 10:36 AM

anyone that doesn't fine someone for impersonating someone should be thrown out as a judge or lawyer, this is serious and will only get worse

Flag Reply +7 rate up
1 reply
camp4bell bigspin7 June 16 2014 at 1:11 PM

Especially when a minor is involved. This is ridiculous. Perps have more rights while they bicker over the 1st amendment. What about the 4th? No one cares about privacy.

Flag Reply +3 rate up
gramos555 June 16 2014 at 7:04 AM

One of the friend's mothers. As usual.

Which kid is likely to be most jealous of your child? Take a second look at her mother.

Flag Reply +4 rate up
1 reply
lisacatz gramos555 June 16 2014 at 10:44 PM

This is a very nasty and sexist assumption. "It's the mother's fault?" Give me a break!

Flag Reply 0 rate up
Kay June 16 2014 at 11:04 AM

None of this surprises me. I quit my Face Book account because someone was sending messages to people that were not from me, but I was being blamed for the comments. So I cancelled the account and informed all my friends and family that I did not have FB anymore.

Flag Reply +4 rate up
T Rock June 16 2014 at 10:27 AM

With all this new tech isn't it comforting to know the police are years behind in being able to actually find and arrest criminals

Flag Reply +3 rate up
MMMcNerney June 16 2014 at 2:56 PM

Just one more reason why my daughter is not allowed to have a membership on any social websites. We have no internet or cable service at home, by my own choice, and she is allowed to visit the library once a week (Thursdays) to use the internet, sitting at a computer right by me. Her electronics are Nintendo 3DS, a Television w/VCR/DVD combo and her movies, and a CD player, and she is only allowed to use her electronic devices after supper regardless of whether it's a week night or a school night. When I was her age, if I told my parents I was bored, they told me to play outside or read a book, and we had family game night twice a week. Kids have way too much unsupervised access to the internet today. Cell phones, iPads, Nooks, laptops, devices w/internet...it's too much.

Flag Reply +1 rate up
1 reply
nordengto MMMcNerney June 16 2014 at 5:03 PM

I agree my children are not allowed either . Some of their friends are not allowed to have accounts, but some of them tried at school, and got caught and suspended. People lie, about everything. a true friend is there and a call away. The more that is out there about ones self the more information is at play for people to spread around. I think that this girl in the article did something that she did not want her mom to know about and with all school taunting, it blew up in her face and someone got back at her. she did not want to get into trouble so she pointed fingers.

Flag Reply +1 rate up
madmax821 June 16 2014 at 5:09 PM

I close my instagram account. Selfies, scams, rude people nudes you name it. Waste of tme also likes, follows, unfollow,haters you can have it. I had facebook for one day 10 years ago to much info.

Flag Reply +1 rate up
nordengto June 16 2014 at 6:39 AM

Kids do things behind the parents back and her friends will cover for her.

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1 reply
TK Steelies nordengto June 16 2014 at 6:51 AM

There have been huge amounts of fake Instagram, Facebook and Twitter accounts set up over the past year or so, I'm constantly getting friend requests from people I don't know but apparently live in my town. So I'm more inclined to believe this story then your unfounded comment.

Flag Reply +12 rate up
1 reply
dennismlns TK Steelies June 16 2014 at 10:23 AM

Can you amagen my suprise when I liked a post of my sisters on Instagram when I DO NOT HAVE AN ACCOUNT ON INSTAGRAM? that account has been taken down, but I had to prove it wasn't mine.

Flag +2 rate up
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