Anderson Cooper Discusses Cyberstalking with Sue Scheff

I was more than thrilled to meet Anderson Cooper and must say I was humbled by his sincere concern for those that are victimized by others that are being destroyed online by vicious keystrokes.

For those that don’t know my story, it starts in 2000 and ended in 2006 with a landmark victory for Internet Defamation and invasion of privacy.  My stories were written and published by Health Communications Inc (HCI – home of Chicken Soup for the Soup book series) and over the past decade, my mistakes and my knowledge has helped thousands of people and families to make better decisions for their teens and their virtual lives.

Whether you are considering residential therapy or thinking about creating a Facebook page, you will learn from the mistake I made.  After spending years in litigation – with two major victories – and almost being silenced to tell my story, I am here to not only share my story, but to be sure what happened to my daughter and myself doesn’t happen to others, but to let you know that what you post online today – can and will haunt you tomorrow!

Check out part of my segment on Anderson Cooperclick here.

My books: Wit’s End and Google Bomb are both available on Amazon!

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Cyber Hawks that Stalk!

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A new HEIGHT of cybercrimes, stalking, stolen identities, cyber-corruption and criminal predators with a keypad

Do you believe your online image, reputation and character are protected? Firewalls broken – hackers hacking – and you are now virtually invaded! Learn from Sue Scheff’s $11M defamation verdict that changed Internet Culture.

Google Bomb (n) or “link bomb”: Internet slang for a certain kind of attempt to raise the ranking of a given page in results from a Google search. (Wikipedia)

Sue Scheff was a regular person who found out in the most evil way what slander awaited her in cyberspace. Scheff’s business, reputation, and identity were stolen, livelihood ruined, her mental health threatened after viral defamatory statements emerged. Scheff was hit with a Google bomb.

Like an epidemic, Google bombs are the latest lethal legal weapon to destroy character and reputations. Our First Lady was hit. No one is immune.  We must be proactive in maintaining our virtual profile.

Still standing and thriving after all she endured both personally and professionally, Scheff now helps others understand the depths of the Internet and what happens when revenge turns to e-venge.

IN THE NEWS: Over 400 newspapers have featured this landmark case. Including a 4-Part LA Times Series, Washington Post, Huffington Post, Wall Street Journal, USA Today, AARP, and many more.  Here are snippets of Scheff’s advice on how to protect your image:

 

  • Wall Street Journal “Until you go through a vengeful attack on your good name, service or business, you have no idea what a Google bomb can do to you.”
  • AARP“Limit the amount of information you provide on the Internet,” she now advises others. “The Internet is not only an educational tool, it can be a lethal weapon,”
  • Washington Post“if you don’t own your own name, someone else will.”
  • Family Circle“Use extreme caution…Whatever you say in the kitchen goes into your kid’s ears and can come out on the computer screen – and go viral!”
  • LA Times – We need very real repercussions for violating a reporter’s privacy in a motel room with a peep camera for mass voyeuristic consumption.”

 LA Times –The malicious stroke of a key has become the equivalent of a cyberbullet.” – Sue Scheff

Order Google Bomb today!

Digital Journal Interviews Sue Scheff on Google Bomb Book

Google is the world’s top search engine used by millions each day. Anyone can be defamed easily, all searchable through Google. Author Sue Scheff talks about the Google Bomb and its impact on our life.
The Internet as a technology for information and quick, inexpensive communication may be fascinating for millions around the globe, but if put to malicious use against someone, it can be a paralyzing weapon.
That is what happened in the case of Sue Scheff, author of Google Bomb (HCI Books, 2009). In her book, co-authored with lawyer John W. Dozier, Sue tells the story of her victimization through serial defamatory attacks on the web that destroyed her professional career and trampled her personal reputation as well as her social life. Just by Googling her name, or that of her organization, countless people could mark her and her organization as evil entities, all because of false, malicious, and unchecked accusations (and even effusive abuse) made against her by someone who failed to use her for her own vested interests.

In today’s world, Google has become the measure of one’s reputation – hence the term “Google Bomb”. Standing up against the coercion, however, Sue finally won the historical $11.3 million defamation suit against the culprit responsible for her loss. It was very informative talking to Sue for an interview to run in the journal Recovering the Self (Vol. 3, No 1). Following is a slightly abridged version of Sue’s interview.

Read the entire interview here.

Teen Seasonal Employment: Employers Now Asking for Facebook URL – What Does Yours Say?

Please include your Facebook link when applying for a job

At first glance you would think this is a misprint, but after applying online to a health food store, a young college grad student was asked to provide his Facebook link as part of the application process.  Before doing this, he did change his photo, and this is not implying his photo was inappropriate, however really wasn’t what you want a potential employer to view.  It was a silly photo of him and his friends on a Merry-Go-Round, not exactly a first impression you want a future employer to view or misunderstand.

In reality, many employers and college admissions are viewing Facebook pages.  We don’t need The Social Network movie that took the number one spot for two weeks in a row, to remind us of how powerful the Internet has become. 

Just recently, Jessica Bennett, wrote an amazing article for Newsweek – “What The Internet Knows About You.”  If you haven’t read it, now would be a good time, and remember to pass it on to your friends and family.

With each passing day your privacy is becoming slimmer and slimmer.  When it comes to your safety and the safety of your family, you need to take precautions to insure your cybersafety and your virtual resume. What is your Faceboook insurance?

With this information, as the holidays are approaching and many teens will be looking for seasonal help, they may want to take a double-take at their Facebook page.  If you are an adult looking for a job, needless to say, it can’t hurt to re-evaluate what you are posting online.

What may seem humorous to you and your friends, could be offensive to others.  Privacy is a gift, and how much you want to give is up to you.  However give with caution!

Learn more about ways to protect your privacy and protect yourself from identity theft.

Don’t learn the lesson the hard way, “Google Bomb! The Untold Story of the $11.3M Verdict That Changed the Way We Use the Internet,” a story everyone needs to read.

Read more.

Sue Scheff: Free Speech, Facebook, students, teachers and the law

With the recent headlines about Katherine Evans and her victory in Broward County, Florida regarding a judge’s ruling, stated that she is allowed to sue her former principal. 

Backed by lawyers from the Florida branch of the ACLU, Evans won her first victory this week when Judge Barry Garber ruled that she could proceed with the case because her Facebook group was protected by the First Amendment. “Evans’ speech falls under the wide umbrella of protected speech,” Garber wrote in his opinion. “It was an opinion of a student about a teacher, that was published off-campus, did not cause any disruption on-campus, and was not lewd, vulgar, threatening, or advocating illegal or dangerous behavior.” – Digital Trends

Free speech does not condone defamation, however is what Katherine Evans wrote defamatory?  That doesn’t seem to be the case, the story is about the punishment that Evans received following posting ugly comments about one of her teachers.

Katherine Evans started the “Ms. Sarah Phelps is the worst teacher I’ve ever met!” group on Facebook back in 2007 and featured a photograph of the teacher and an invitation for other students to “express your feelings of hatred,” prompting a three-day suspension from school principal Peter Bayer.  The suspension came two months after the page was taken down.  Evans was also removed from Advanced Placement classes.

Evans wants to have the suspension removed from her disciplinary record and receive a nominal fee for the violation of her First Amendment rights.

Maybe this is an example of the old cliché, “if you don’t have something nice to say, don’t say anything.”  Or in today’s digital world, “if you don’t have something nice to post, don’t post it.”

Remember, what goes online, stays online.  What you post today can come back to haunt you later.  If you are angry with someone, dislike your boss or teacher – think twice before you post about it.  Today once you put it out there, it virtually impossible to take it back, and most people don’t want to end up in a courtroom – no matter what side you are on.  There are never any winners.  Except the lawyers, in my opinion.

Although Katherine Evans has been given the green light to file her case, free speech lives on, however when will people start realizing enough is enough with some forms of Internet abuse?  Cyberbullying, Internet predators, and sexting are just the start of the ugliness that lurks online. 

Eventually the laws need to catch up with the free for all cyberspace. 

Read more on Examiner.

Sue Scheff: Reader’s View Gives Fantastic Reveiw of Google Bomb

Google Bomb: The Untold Story of the $11.3M Verdict That Changed the Way We Use the Internet

John W. Dozier Jr. and Sue Scheff
Health Communications, Inc. (2009)
ISBN 9780757314155
Reviewed by Irene Watson for Reader Views (01/10)

First of all, I have to say “Google Bomb” may be the most important book anyone that has Internet presence should read. Owning a number of online businesses myself, I was eager to read this book because I wanted to know more about Sue Scheff’s experience and the successful outcome of a lawsuit. Her case was the first in Internet defamation and landed her $11.3M. But, there was so much more I learned than her story.
Written by Sue Scheff herself, as well as John W. Dozier Jr., a Internet law attorney, “Google Bomb” not only tells of Scheff’s experience with defamation by nasty people but also the emotional trauma she went through. For a site that started off being a helpful site to parents of troubled teens, it ended up smeared all over the Internet as deceptive. The interesting aspect is that the disparaging comments went viral and ended up on the top of the Google search engine. Consequently, potential visitors to Scheff’s site were redirected to derogatory and defaming information.

Dozier’s parts of the book follow Scheff’s comments and experience. They intermingle, giving the reader a fuller understanding of how others can control your site by, for e.g., creating anchor texts on their site but using your information and directing the visitors to their site where the defamatory information exists. Or, in other cases, the anchor texts are used by competitors so the visitors are directed to their sites instead of yours.

Dozier also explains how you can protect yourself against such attacks and gives suggestions of some Internet companies that offer this service. He also goes into copyright violations, cyberstalking, the Striesand Effect, hacking, spamming, and theft of trademarks. As I mentioned before, this could be the most important book you could read. It sure is for me. I used a full container of sticky tabs to mark important information and areas I need to re-read and implement.

“Google Bomb” is highly recommended because it gives you important information of what could happen to innocent people if not protected or on top of matters. Unfortunately there are many laws not in place to protect us on the Internet so we have to take our own responsibility to be cognizant and one way is to sign up for Google Alerts. This book isn’t meant to scare the site holders, but to inform them of what could happen if not aware. Awareness is the key, and by reading “Google Bomb” I can guarantee you will become more aware than you were before.

On www.readersview.com

Sue Scheff: Internet Defamation Talk Radio

I was thrilled to be a guest on Traverse Legal Radio this week!

We talked about Internet Defamation and how it can devastate your business and reputation. 

Learn more – click here to read the transcript and listen!

Reminder: Purchase Google Bomb book to learn more about how you can maintain your virtual image!  Learn from my mistakes!