Site spews vile goss

WHERE can you publish unsubstantiated and damaging rumours about teenagers' sex lives with seemingly no consequences?

Where else but the internet and, specifically, Facebook.

A Facebook page calling itself Grafton Goss has been the talk of high school playgrounds across the Clarence Valley of late, its vile gossip about Grafton teenagers sparking intrigue among the demographic.

Claims of faked pregnancies, multiple sexual partners, cheating, the spreading of STDs – it's all there on public display with real people named and the cowardly creator of Grafton Goss hiding behind the fake profile.

A number of physical threats have been made against the unknown creator of the site as retribution for the false rumours.

The Grafton Goss creator claims on the site that it was only publishing information that it has been “inboxed” by other people.

But the claims are published without any checking of facts or regard to the privacy of the people concerned.

The site had 532 friends yesterday – an increase of about 200 in a week.

The Daily Examiner spoke to several young people who had been defamed on the site and though none of them wished to be named, they were unanimous in their desire to have the site shut down.

“People warned me about what was written about me,” said one 16-year-old Grafton High School student who was named as cheating on her boyfriend and performing lewd acts on a webcam.

“It should be traced and shut down.”

Another teenager said many of her peers realised that just about everything on the site was untrue so the rumours were pretty much laughed off.

But a mother of one teenager, whose friend was named on the site, said many youngsters were terribly upset by the site.

It is understood that several people have reported the site to Facebook administration, but it remains active.

Grafton police inspector Jo Reid said police would take action if a victim reported it to police.

She said police might be able to identify the site's administrator through ISP address identification.

Police, she said, could also conduct local investigations or work in conjunction with Facebook administration.

The Facebook user agreement states that users must provide their real names and information.

“You will not post content or take any action on Facebook that infringes or violates someone else's rights or otherwise violates the law,” says the agreement.

There are reportedly also “goss” sites for the Lower Clarence including Maclean Yamba Goss, Yamba Yarn Carrier and Coasty Goss but The Examiner could only find Coasty Goss yesterday, which appeared not to publish names on its site.

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