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Should it be Illegal to Pose as Someone Else on Facebook or Twitter?

Justin Sullivan, Getty Images

Just about daily I get Facebook friend requests from ‘people’ that I can just tell are not ‘real.’ I’m sure you get them to. Why are they doing this? Well, they could be trying to somehow hack your account, possibly invade your privacy or maybe spread a virus on your computer. There is proposed legal action that if passed, would make the impersonation attempt against the law in Arizona.

The online impersonation bill comes from Republican State Rep. Michelle Ugenti.The legislation would make it a crime punishable by prison time to create a Facebook or Twitter account in someone else’s name, if it’s done without permission and for malicious reasons.

If the legislation is enacted, it would be a felony in Arizona to use another person’s name without permission to create a Web page intended to ‘harm, defraud, intimidate or threaten.’ It would also be a misdemeanor to send an email or text message that appears to come from another person that is intended to harm or defraud.

California, Washington, New York and Texas have all adopted similar online impersonation laws over the past two years. Should Maine?

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