MySpace teen suit dismissed by Texas court

A lawsuit by a family of a teenage girl who was sexually assaulted by someone she met on the popular Internet social networking site MySpace has been dismissed in the US.

Judge Sam Sparks of the US District Court for the Western district of Texas granted MySpace's motion to dismiss the charges of negligence, fraud and negligent misrepresentation.

The case, which could have had massive ramifications to social networking sites and forums across the web if it had gone the other way was concerning the family of a Texan girl who was attacked by a 19-year-old man she met on the social networking site.

"To ensure that Web site operators and other interactive computer services would not be crippled by lawsuits arising out of third party communications, the Act provides interactive computer services with immunity", Sparks' ruling said.

In dismissing the suit, Judge Sparks said that as an "interactive service", MySpace was protected from materials posted on its site by the Communications Decency Act (CDA) of 1996.

It was also found that the 13-year-old girl had lied about her age, saying she was 18. MySpace has a policy of not allowing anyone under the age of 14 to have an account. However replies on the user to vouch for their age at time of sign up rather than requesting further verification from a third party.