Intro to ethics: Megan Meier case

(last update 1/21/18)

An ethics case from the early days of social media


1. Megan Meier was a troubled 13-year old Missouri girl

2. On Myspace, she was befriended by 16-year old “Josh Evans” who she did not know personally

                    MySpace was once the first facebook

                    (Anyone have an acct.?)

3. “Josh” cultivated an on-line romance at first, but then his messages changed

4. He wrote “I don’t know if I want to be friends with you anymore”

and later

5. “You are a bad person and everybody hates you. Have a shitty rest of your life. The world would be a better place without you.”

6. At that point, she hanged herself in her closet.

7. Josh turned out to be a fictitious MySpace person created by ex-friend’s mother Lori Drew and shared with several others

8. Some time later, it all came to light

9. Neighbors shunned the Drews following the incident

10. They had to move

11. Laws were updated

12. Drew was convicted of a misdemeanor but the conviction was overturned

13. In fact, all she really did was violate Myspace’s terms of service!


– 1. Is there some rule or guideline that if followed would prevent this from happening?

Let’s break into groups and continue the discussion!


– 2. Supposing there was no suicide – would the ruse then not have been unethical?

– 3. If _________ was of good character, what would ______ have done?

       (Fill in the blank with different people)

Other possible questions

 – 4. Who is right, who is wrong, and WHY?

         Online students: post the answers in your blog

  – 5. the friend’s mother have?

  – 6. the girl have?

  – 7. the girl’s parents?

  – 8. Myspace?

  – 9. Facebook (if it happened today)

  – 10. the girl’s (former) friend?

  – 11. the neighbors?

  – 12. Is it ethical for Drew to have to move/go into hiding?

  – 13. What would you do as a parent in a case like this, and what are your reasons, ethical and other?



One Response

  1. This is horrifying. I don’t know why people are not held accountable for their actions even on the internet. In my eyes and should be in the eyes of the law that person/persons caused that girl her life. They should have been tried and convicted for murder.

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