Two men who erected a Facebook page which allowed users to rate the sexual prowess of women have been jailed.
The page in question was called “Bendaz Root Rate”. “Bendaz” is a proper noun and “root” is, in Australia, a slang term a little coarser than “shag” is the UK, but still a fair way short of the F-word.
The two men in question lived in the Victorian town of Bendigo, population 90,000, and created the page after seeing similar efforts for other towns. They ran afoul of authorities after the page was noticed and its contents found to contain derogatory – and worse – commentary that even mentioned people well below the age of consent.
The Bendigo Magistrate’s Court today deemed the content fell under the provisions of Australia’s Criminal Code that prohibit using a carriage service to offend, or publishing offensive material on an information network. The court reached that conclusion after prosecutors said the material posted could do lasting damage to those it mentioned, and was not merely embarrassing.
One of the guilty men has been barred from using Facebook for two years and jailed for six months (all suspended). The other has been jailed for four months. Both men have appealed their sentences.
Social media commentators say the incident highlights the need for young people to take care what they do online. Others have wondered if there’s a freedom of speech aspect to the case.
The page lives on in the form of a related Facebook page, “The awkward moment you name appears on Bendaz Root Rate” ®