Madi Hime is taking a deep drag on a blue vape in the video, her eyes shut, her face flushed with pleasure. The 16-year-old exhales with her head thrown back, collapsing into laughter that causes smoke to billow out of her mouth. The clip is grainy and shaky – as if shot in low light by someone who had zoomed in on Madi’s face – but it was damning. Madi was a cheerleader with the Victory Vipers, a highly competitive “all-star” squad based in Doylestown, Pennsylvania. The Vipers had a strict code of conduct; being caught partying and vaping could have got her thrown out of the team. And in July 2020, an anonymous person sent the incriminating video directly to Madi’s coaches.

Eight months later, that footage was the subject of a police news conference. “The police reviewed the video and other photographic images and found them to be what we now know to be called deepfakes,” district attorney Matt Weintraub told the assembled journalists at the Bucks County courthouse on 15 March 2021. Someone was deploying cutting-edge technology to tarnish a teenage cheerleader’s reputation.

But a little over a year later, when Spone finally appeared in court to face the charges against her, she was told the cyberharassment element of the case had been dropped. The police were no longer alleging that she had digitally manipulated anything. Someone had been crying deepfake. A story that generated thousands of headlines around the world was based on teenage lies, after all. When the truth finally came out, it was barely reported – but the videos and images were real.

  • @SupraMario@lemmy.world
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    2272 months ago

    The issue here is the police having anything to do with digital forensics…this should have been outsourced to a group that knows how to detect these things and not some cop that barely knows the traffic laws in his own state.

    • Transporter Room 3
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      1242 months ago

      Barely?

      In my experience ops don’t know shit. It’s all about “gut feelings”. "Well “his feels illegal so I’m gonna arrest them and if I’m wrong I get to sit at my desk all day or go on a paid vacation” is how it is.

      I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been stopped by cops for riding my bicycle on the road. Literally to the point where I have a laminated card I keep in my wallet with the relevant laws saying “this bike is illegal on a sidewalk and cars must give way on the road”

      I’ve had a few threaten to arrest me “for being a piece of shit” or “for wasting my time” like I’m the one who made them stop…

      I’ve been stopped because I “fit a description” multiple times, the “description” being “man on a bike” with nothing else, supposedly.

      I’ve been stopped for speeding in a school zone before, and if it wouldn’t have been a waste of time, I’d have let it go to court and showed my helmet camera video that clearly shows my phone GPS as well as cycling computer (glorified speedometer) readout that clearly shows I was well under 25. Granted I’ve gone 49 in a 45 for about 3 seconds before I realized one rock and I’m dead and slowed down, there’s 0 chance of me speeding past 20 on flat ground unless I’m trying to set a personal best.

      I’ve been stopped for “being a road hazard”, not having enough reflective things, having “too many lights” (one forward flasher, one steady, and one rear/one steady rear light), not signaling “and hand signals don’t count anymore” lol OK…

      Pretty much whatever they feel like stopping you for, they’ll stop you and come up with a half-assed excuse later. They don’t know the laws they enforce, and if they did, they would be considered a liability to other cops and quickly be ejected.

        • Transporter Room 3
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          382 months ago

          Theres a reason so many astronauts come from here… They want to leave so bad, they fled the planet.

          • mynachmadarch
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            82 months ago

            Ah, America. Yeah that tracks. ;)
            Your state at least has a great air museum in Dayton to encourage more of those Astronauts.

              • Transporter Room 3
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                82 months ago

                Actually, I was assuming more people have heard the joke “more astronauts have come from Ohio because they’re fleeing the state” more than assuming “this person is American”

                But yeah, Ohio. People meme on it being boring and full of cow farms and corn fields for a reason.

                Also occasionally our rivers catch on fire and trains get a bit tipsy.

                • mynachmadarch
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                  42 months ago

                  But at least your roads aren’t so full of pot holes you make Afroman look sober like your neighbour to the north.

                • @dylanmorgan@slrpnk.net
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                  42 months ago

                  I once had a friend turn down an invitation because he “had friends coming in from Cleveland.” I told him he could just say he didn’t want to go.

      • SeaJ
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        102 months ago

        Good gravy. Glad I live in Seattle. They are finally make a few physically separated bike lanes instead of just painting a bike symbol on the side of the road.

      • @Railing5132@lemmy.world
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        52 months ago

        Hell, the supreme court codified “gut feeling” into fucking law.

        I can’t remember the name of the case, but it was referenced in “Talking to Strangers” by Malcolm Gladwell. A guy was pulled over because the cop believed the lens to his taillight was cracked, which led to an arrest on drug possession charges. Turns out, the state that they were in didn’t have a law about ‘cracked lenses’, but the cop thought they did. Our fucked up SC upheld the probable cause, the resulting search and seizure, and all the rest of the fruit of the poisonous tree by saying: "that the officer thought the activity was illegal was enough basis for a probable cause stop.

        We are truly fucked, ladies and gentlemen.

      • @MrPoopbutt@lemmy.world
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        32 months ago

        I’ve always thought it was nuts that cyclists are told not to use sidewalks. If a cyclist hits a pedestrian on a sidewalk, it sucks but it isn’t that big of a thing. Comparatively, if a car hits a cyclist on the road, then the damage to human health can be far worse. So why put the cyclist in that situation if a sidewalk exists?

      • @Juvyn00b@lemmy.world
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        22 months ago

        As someone in the more rural bits, I’ve ridden my bike on 2 lane non marked roads a few times - however, the amount of social media complaining in my town is absolutely appealing when it comes to cars. People complaining about speeding, then complaining about people going 2mph under the speed limit. I do my best to stick to trails or sidewalks because if you happen to inconvenience anyone - they might make it a point for you to have a bad day. And that’s sad.

    • 520
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      Some PDs do have their own digital forensics units. It isn’t a task handed to patrolmen

        • 520
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          They aren’t given to patrolmen. They have dedicated and specially trained units. Otherwise the evidence can be nullified.

          Source: have worked in digital forensics.

          • @MegaUltraChicken@lemmy.world
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            102 months ago

            There are several agencies that have some patrolmen doing on-scene digital forensics in the US.

            Source: I currently work in digital forensics and have trained patrolmen.

            • 520
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              On-scene stuff is a bit different. You’re not doing the actual analytics on scene if you can help it, you’re obtaining the evidence. Of course that still needs specialist training, you can’t simply copy and paste shit, but it’s very different to what goes on in the forensic lab.

              • @MegaUltraChicken@lemmy.world
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                42 months ago

                Yeah absolutely. We’re on the same page. Just pointing out that they’re slowly rolling more tech out to the knuckle draggers which can be concerning if not done properly (and a lot of the time it isn’t).

                • 520
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                  Indeed. I’d say the on-site guys really need training. Beyond working directly on the master image and writing to it or reporting false findings, there isn’t as much that can be irrevocably fucked up in the analytics room.

                  Acquisition is a whole different story. One seemingly small fuck up and the evidence is toast.

      • @SupraMario@lemmy.world
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        32 months ago

        The BIs are usually who handle this stuff, but it sounds like this never was sent up to the state investigation units. This literally sounds like bob came off patrol and said “heard about them deepfakes must be one of them”

  • @girlfreddy@lemmy.caOP
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    Either a woman with no background in digital technology had made a sophisticated deepfake on her iPhone 8, or a 16-year-old had panicked and lied to her mother about vaping, or mother and daughter had decided together to explain away behaviour they knew would get Madi in trouble, with an elaborate story about digital manipulation. The police chose to believe the first explanation.

    “They never understood deepfakes, and the implications of giving a press conference scaring people into thinking someone could take an image and turn it into something else so easily,” Birch says. “I don’t think they ever thought this thing would spread like wildfire and become a worldwide phenomenon.”

    A small police force made a mistake that became too big to fix. “Once it blew up, the police couldn’t extricate themselves without losing face.”

    As always, ACAB.

    edit to add

    And then there was this …

    These would be the last public comments (Officer Matthew) Reiss made about the case. On 26 May 2021 he was arrested on suspicion of possessing images of child sexual abuse. Two images had been uploaded to his Gmail account, and detectives had traced them to his IP address. When they raided his home and seized his electronic devices, they found more than 1,700 images and videos depicting children, including 84 of toddlers and infants. Reiss pleaded guilty in March 2022, and was later sentenced to 11 and a half to 23 months in jail. To use Weintraub’s language, if anyone was “preying on juveniles”, it was the police officer who led the investigation.

  • @GiuseppeAndTheYeti@midwest.social
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    1212 months ago

    Deepfake fake news story aside, at the crux of this story is a girl or parent jealous of Madi’s position on the team and was trying to tattle to get her kicked off the team. This story getting ignored was the best result. The girl was 16 and she was caught vaping. Kids are going to do shit they shouldn’t and any hard and fast rule on vices like this is only going to be abused and cause more damage in the long term.

    • @IronpigsWizard@lemmy.world
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      622 months ago

      I’m more concerned about this loser parent going around stalking 16 year olds being 16 year olds.

      This whole story certainly inspires one to despise technology, however.

    • circuscritic
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      542 months ago

      Absolutely.

      “Helicopter Karen tries to snitch on kids for vaping, but gets fucked by the police instead”.

      I sincerely hope everyone involved comes out worse for wear.

    • @Dozzi92@lemmy.world
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      242 months ago

      For real, that’s a story in itself. And then Madi’s old man knows some guys on the force so they say it’s fake, that’s story two. I’m honestly more interested in story one, because some loser is out here stalking this 16-year-old girl so they can screw her shit up, presumably out of jealousy.

      My kids will play sports and dance and do whatever. I have no interest in pushing them towards very serious leagues, because time and again the people involved in them have shown they are all losers. My kids will not be professional athletes, we are not particularly tall or strong or fast, but they can do well, be healthy, and make friends, that’s about all I want from it.

    • @dylanmorgan@slrpnk.net
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      72 months ago

      Considering the woman: A) is legally barred from discussing the other families, and B) denies having sent anything to anyone, I think you might be making some pretty broad assumptions. What we do know is that the videos and photos weren’t faked, and they were evidence of misconduct by the other girls, who as of yet have experienced zero consequences and in at least one case may have benefited from the case going viral.

      • @DreamlandLividity@lemmy.world
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        Oh no, a teenager faces zero consequences for vaping. We are doomed! /s

        That being said, you are right that the allegations should not be taken as facts, especially considering they came from the same source as those deepfake lies.

      • @chunkystyles@sopuli.xyz
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        52 months ago

        Yeah man! Lock that fucking kid UP! Throw the book at that scoundrel!

        It was a teen vaping. Fucking chill out.

        • HonkyTonkWoman
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          Teen vaping that lied, convinced others to lie, including parents, & destroyed someone’s life in the process.

          Maybe not lock her up, but kick that twat’s ass off the cheer team & take away scholarships.

          If you’re willing to lie to the point that you ruin someone’s life, yes you do deserve a lot of fucking blame.

            • HonkyTonkWoman
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              32 months ago

              No asshole. The first mom went to the other kids’ parents. She tried to at least keep it between the families. Yes, she fucked up with anonymous messages, but that’s pretty fucking minor compared to doubling down a lie to the point the fucking cops get involved.

              There are no winners here. The fact that you view any of this to be fair is really fucking sad and I feel bad for your neighbors.

              • @lightnsfw@reddthat.com
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                22 months ago

                The first mom went to the other kids’ parents. She tried to at least keep it between the families.

                That’s not what she was convicted of. She sent them to the cheerleading organization as well.

                In March 2022, Spone was found guilty of three counts of misdemeanour harassment for repeatedly sending anonymous messages about the three teenagers. A jury found that she had used secret phone numbers to send incriminating photos and videos. The messages – sent to the Victory Vipers and to the teenagers’ families – accused the cheerleaders of drinking, smoking and posting revealing photos on social media. The anonymous numbers used to send the messages had been sent from an IP address belonging to Spone. She appealed against her conviction, but the superior court of Pennsylvania upheld it on 14 November 2023.___

                • HonkyTonkWoman
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                  She sent REAL videos of the teens acting badly, including her own. One of the other teens LIED claiming the videos were fake.

                  This was parent contacting other parents about kids fucking up & the other parents opted to trust their lying children over the other adult.

                  The first mom got charged with harassment because the cops were not able to charge her with deepfaking child porn. The cops tried to charge her as a pedo & opted to slap her wrists for anonymous text messages rather than admit they fucked up too.

                  Again, no one is right here, but if you think those kids don’t deserve some righteous holy hell for their bullshit then I don’t know what to tell you.

                  Except, maybe… don’t procreate. Not sure we need your kids running around this planet.

          • @areyouevenreal@lemm.ee
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            -62 months ago

            Did they actually do anything you are saying? It was the police who claimed it was a deepfake, not necessarily the kid.

            • HonkyTonkWoman
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              Are you kidding me? You didn’t read the article did you? You just picked side & started downvoting.

              Those kids lied the whole way through, saying the videos were fake. They doubled down it. They got the cops involved & were somehow stupid enough to let a pedophile cop take it the point that a woman, likely a family’s, life has been ruined.

              No the other mom shouldn’t have narc’d, but if you fuck up and get caught, you don’t get to lie your way out of it at the expense of someone else.

              Stop seeing shit so black and white. Everyone involved here is stupid as shit.

    • @ShepherdPie@midwest.social
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      32 months ago

      No no clearly the best thing to do is to ruin her life over vaping just like kids who lose all the scholarships they earned because they got caught smoking weed. How else are they going to find out how dangerous these things are if we don’t absolutely destroy them in spite of their accomplishments?

  • @profdc9@lemmy.world
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    832 months ago

    “The Party told you to reject the evidence of your eyes and ears. It was their final, most essential command.” - Orwell, 1984

    • @EatATaco@lemm.ee
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      92 months ago

      I guess I can see why this is being posted, but if you are entering this era thinking that because you’ve seen a video of something that it must have happened…well, you haven’t been paying much attention and opening yourself up to being easily manipulated.

  • @theparadox@lemmy.world
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    Honestly, this is what I consider to be the clear danger of generative “AI”. We’ve basically gone several steps backward toward a world where we can’t prove something happened because recording technology doesn’t exist because it can be faked well enough and easily enough to cast doubt on any recording.

    Sure, experts can analyze it and deem it legit or not legit but for the average person its becoming harder and harder to tell. Word spreads fast, and it’s been demonstrated that lies spread faster than their corrections by orders of magnitude. All it takes is for something to “go viral” or someone with authority to lazily confirm or deny that something is real/fake and the public at large loses touch with reality.

    This plus the insane misinformation campaigns and those that cry “fake news” whenever the news contains information they don’t like… I feel like truth and reality are becoming unfashionable.

    • DarkThoughts
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      122 months ago

      Sure, experts can analyze it and deem it legit or not legit but for the average person its becoming harder and harder to tell.

      Frankly, I think that’s exactly what will also be its downfall in such cases. At a certain amount of exposure of such material, people will stop caring, because of how common it will be. The larger issue is not how to tell what’s fake, but how to tell what’s true. Large players, such as governments or corporations, can and will abuse this tech for whatever narrative they need.

    • @EatATaco@lemm.ee
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      62 months ago

      Confirmation bias just leads people to believe whatever confirms their beliefs. Now we can give anyone anything they need to confirm their beliefs.

  • Flying Squid
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    502 months ago

    This article took way too long to get to the fact that this was a massive police fuckup.

  • KillingTimeItself
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    262 months ago

    imagine caring this much about what teens do.

    Jesus christ your life must be so boring. I get wanting to be a good influence and stuff but like holy shit dude.

    • @Aux@lemmy.world
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      122 months ago

      If you don’t care about what teenagers do, you end up with a country full of twats.

      • @Daft_ish@lemmy.world
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        If you haven’t noticed it’s not the teenagers that are giant twats it’s the fucking boomers wanting us to all be christo-fascists. They literally elected, “grab her by the pussy” guy.

          • KillingTimeItself
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            12 months ago

            yeah and notoriously rebellious and anti-authority teenagers are going to respond well to an authority figure?

            nope, you’ve got to give them the framework to be able to conceptualize their experience of the world properly. Which we aren’t doing when we say “no vaping”

            It’s a difficult problem, it’s been studied for centuries, there doesn’t seem to be a correct answer to the problem.

      • @Zetta@mander.xyz
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        Yeah The vape’s going to fucking brain rot them right?

        I think the original comment was saying nobody should give a fuck what teens do when it comes to stuff like that, because you can’t prevent it, teens do drugs (nicotine is a drug)

        I will add that the only person that should care is the child’s parents, but the same principles apply. They can’t stop them, but they should educate them on the potential downsides of consuming certain things at their age.

        • Rhynoplaz
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          22 months ago

          Huh. I thought the original commenter meant Why did anyone report on teenage drama in the first place?

  • @Daft_ish@lemmy.world
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    The laws should have never gotten involved except in the instance with the bathing suit.

    Please people, handle your petty grievances about puritanical bullshit without involving the violent gang known as police officers.

    • @gdog05@lemmy.world
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      312 months ago

      And also, extracurricular groups forcing a code of conduct akin to purity tests need to go the fuck away. If they want to exploit the talent and hard work of kids for personal monetary gain, you’d think they’d be less of a dick about it.

    • Flying Squid
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      182 months ago

      She apparently did send the texts she was guilty of sending. Which was a misdemeanor and for which she paid restitution. But, as was already said, the videos were on social media and that doesn’t give the pedophile cop the right to make up some deepfake bullshit, which results in a public press conference accusing her of it, and that results in things like her neighbor threatening to kill her because he thought she was a pedophile.

      • @EatATaco@lemm.ee
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        72 months ago

        The poster neither said nor implied that this justified what the cops did, only pointed out that what this lady did was still still incredibly petty. It’s a story of all bad guys.

        • enkers
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          That’s not how things seemed to me at all. She wasn’t trying to get the other girl kicked off the team. The other girl was potentially putting her daughter at risk, and she was just trying to keep her daughter safe.

          Whether or not some teenage partying is actually a significant risk, I don’t really have a strong view on, but I can certainly understand the thought process.

          • @EatATaco@lemm.ee
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            32 months ago

            If your concern is about safety, why are you trying to mask who you’re sending it from and complaining about them posting pictures in revealing clothing?

            • enkers
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              32 months ago

              Maybe she was worried that raising those concern’s could potentially have her daughter sidelined?

              I missed that part about the revealing clothing. Maybe you’re right, and it’s just unchecked puritanism. Perhaps I’m giving this lady too much benefit of the doubt.

      • @ShepherdPie@midwest.social
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        The vaping video was just one of many disturbing communications brought to the attention of Hilltown Township police department, Weintraub said. Madi had been receiving messages telling her she should kill herself. Her mother, Jennifer Hime, had told officers someone had been taking images from Madi’s social media and manipulating them “to make her appear to be drinking”. A photograph of Madi in swimwear had been altered: “Her bathing suit was edited out.”

        Madi wasn’t the only member of the Victory Vipers cheer team to have been victimised. In August 2020, Sherri Ratel had been sent anonymous texts accusing her teenage daughter, Kayla, of drinking and smoking pot. Noelle Nero had been sent images of her 17-year-old daughter in a bikini with captions about “toxic traits, revenge, dating boys and smoking”. These, too, were “all altered and shown as deepfakes”, Weintraub added.

        The anonymous sender had used “spoofing” software to disguise their identity behind an unknown number. The police had managed to trace it to the IP address of Raffaella Spone, a 50-year-old woman with no previous criminal record.

        That’s some heinous shit. I don’t see why anyone has any sympathy for this woman regardless of police incompetence.

        • @fiercekitten@lemm.ee
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          32 months ago

          Because the only thing Spone was convicted of was sending five texts. Apparently the texts weren’t threatening, they were sent to the moms so they would be aware of what their daughters were doing. We don’t even know if the intent of sending the texts was malicious or of concern. Spone didn’t create a deepfake video; the video was real.

          The kids receiving death threats is horrible, but who shared the video or texts outside of the group of kids and moms? Who put it online? The kids lied about what happened over and over again. The girls may not have meant to, but they and the police ruined Spone’s life.

          Unless I am misunderstanding something from the article?

          • @ShepherdPie@midwest.social
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            12 months ago

            Spone may not manipulate videos and images, but she definitely collects them. Still, she says she never sent them. “The charges were that she directly sent messages to the minors,” Birch adds. “That never happened. That’s the point.”

            But did she send messages to the gym and the parents? There is a long pause. “No,” Spone eventually says.

            I’m surprised to hear her say this, given Birch told the Washington Post Spone messaged the parents out of concern for what their daughters had put online. When I point this out, there’s another long pause. “If I said that, I said it,” Birch says, with a shrug. “It is what it is.”

            It sounds like this woman isn’t very truthful either. It seems like one of those cases where everyone involved is a shitty person.

      • @EatATaco@lemm.ee
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        12 months ago

        I interpreted “taking” here as getting it from one place and moving it to another. Although it’s certainly not clear.

  • @VirtualOdour@sh.itjust.works
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    132 months ago

    Did that guy who got arrested for making deep fakes that implicated a school official in corription get out yet or will he have to languish for years before it gets overturned?

    • @Thrashy@lemmy.world
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      192 months ago

      I used to have a coworker whose daughter was in competitive cheer. It’s like any youth competition – the parents can lose their goddamn minds over it. If there was a chance somebody could DQ a competing team, or perhaps open up a spot on a team by narcing on one of the current members, somebody is gonna do it.

  • @Draedron@lemmy.dbzer0.com
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    42 months ago

    I dont get what the issue was with the video in the first place. And why would someone send something like this? Who gives as if kids party? Code of conduct rules for school clubs shouldnt be a thing either.

    • @Buddahriffic@lemmy.world
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      12 months ago

      Yeah, IMO that the clip was real is only marginally better than a deep fake being used. As long as no one is pressured to do anything they don’t want to do and they aren’t using intoxication to justify actual shitty behavior, who cares?

  • @yamanii@lemmy.world
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    -42 months ago

    Who gives a shit, let the teen have fun for fucks sake, cops here actually did a good thing for the girl by saying it was a deepfake.