Jack Thompson sues Facebook for $40M

The lawsuit was filed Tuesday in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida by Jack Thompson

A long-time critic of the video game industry has sued Facebook for US$40 million, saying that the social networking site harmed him by not removing angry postings made by Facebook gamers.

The lawsuit was filed Tuesday in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida by Jack Thompson.

Thompson is best know for bringing suit against Grand Theft Auto's Take Two Interactive, Sony Computer Entertainment America, and Wal-Mart, arguing that the game caused violent behavior. In 2005 episode of CBS's 60 Minutes, Thompson likened the popular video game to a "murder simulator" and blamed it for the 2003 shooting deaths of two police officers and a 911 dispatcher in Fayette, Alabama.

That suit was eventually dismissed, and Thompson's critics accuse him of being a frivolous litigator. Last year he was ordered permanently disbarred by the Florida Supreme Court, which said he had made "abusive and frivolous filings."

None of these activities has made him many friends on Facebook, where there are literally hundreds of groups -- most with just a handful of members -- dedicated to him. The less-offensive sounding ones have names such as I Hate Jack Thompson, Stop Jack Thompson, and Disbar Jack Thompson.

But Thompson says that some of the posts are dangerous and have caused him "great harm and distress."

For example, he cites the group Jack Thompson should be smacked across the face with an Atari 2600 in his lawsuit.

Another link -- now apparently removed from Facebook -- reads: "I will pay $50 to anyone who punches Jack Thompson in the face. If someone can get a video clip of themselves punching Jack Thompson in the face I'll PayPal them $50."

In his court filing, Thompson says he's been harassed ever since the 60 Minutes episode. His house has been shot at, his car vandalized, and he's had "sex aid devices sent to his home." At night, he has to take his phone off the hook to keep from being awakened by angry callers.

Citing Facebook's recent decision to remove a poll asking if U.S. President Barack Obama should be shot, Thompson demands the same treatment for his detractors in the lawsuit. "Unlike our President, Thompson does not have the Secret Service to protect him," he writes.

Thompson's suit has little chance of success, according to Parry Aftab, a cyber-law attorney who is Executive director of Wiredsafety.org, a cyber safety and help group.That's because the U.S. Communications Decency Act makes it clear that companies like Facebook have no liability for what people do with their services. "They are no more liable than the phone company would be for anyone who is calling in a ransom demand," she said.

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Robert McMillan

IDG News Service

57 Comments

Anonymous

1

oh him...

look at that doucher...he should just go to the highest cliff and jump. no one likes him.

Anonymous

2

-.-

he sucks again he should just give up and move to a different country he fails at all lawsuits and piss's off lots and lots of people for the shit he does

Anonymous

3

idiot

What an idiot! So he thinks the best way to deal with all the people that hate him is to piss them off even more?

Anonymous

4

Angry old man yells at cloud!

Just look at that nut!

Anonymous

5

loser

I just joined that group "Jack Thompson should be smacked across the face with an Atari 2600". Screw this douchebag!

Anonymous

6

/facepalm

Ok dood
Your not gonna make any money off of this.
You fail at your attention whoring.
Stop trying, change your name and STFU.
Please, this crap is getting you nothing but making you unpopular with every body. And if you keep trying it only going to get worse.
If you don't want people harassing you, STOP blaming video games and start attacking the parents.
They are the ones at fault.
Christ

Anonymous

7

Whhaargaarrble

... this just in, Hitler confused as to why world hates him; claims it's just a ploy from the left to make him look bad. "But I love my momma, how can I be evil?"

Anonymous

8

maybe he's a psycho but happy shooting and property destroying is illegal. writing stuff about killing and attacking on the net is retarded. it's proving his point that gamers are insane.

Anonymous

9

Law suit

Every body named Jack Thompson should open a law suit against this guy for making the name "Jack Thompson" = Douchebag.

Anonymous

10

Don't hate Jack!

Don't be stupid!

Jack Thomson is the best friend we will ever have in the campaign to keep computer games uncensored; he is so ridiculas that he debunks the entire argument by association! Brilliant move Jack you are the worst campaigner in history and we will continue to have good games because you are a moron! LOL!

Anonymous

11

Yes well

Jack Thompson may well be a frivolous litigator - I mean, why bother?
But who are these people calling him a "douchebag", "moron", etc? Playing shoot 'em up games is also profoundly frivolous. Those games are not important.
Really.
Get a life people.

Anonymous

12

Random guy

Looks like he hasn't had enough "Hot Coffee" this morning.

Anonymous

13

If only he would shut up

He doesn't want it to be over.
or else he'd move home, change name and *ahem*
STAY THE FUCK OUT OF THE MEDIA.

STOP SHOUTING OR ELSE WE WILL FIND OUTSTOPSHOUTINGWHYIS EVERYBODY LOOKING AT ME!? YOU STOP LOOKING AT ME! YOU TOO! WHO ARE ALL THESE PEOPLE TELLING ME TO STOP SHOUTING I DISTINCTLY ASKED THEM TO STOP LOOKING OR TALKING TO ME HEY YOU DO I HAVE ANYTHING OF YOURS? WHY OH WHY WON'T THEY LEAVE ME ALONE!???

...

HEY THEY STOPPED LOOKI.. OH FUCK THEY ARE LOOKING AT ME AGAIN THEY DO THIS ON PURPOSE I TELL YOU!

Anonymous

14

Thompson is an idiot like most of you

Thompson has failed to realized that once you put yourself in the public eye you are no longer going to be able to simple go about your life when ever you want. regardless of what should happen this is just the way our society works. secondly blaming video games for violence is just as absurd as blame a gun for shooting someone. for violence to take place it requires that an action be take. A gun does not fire itself, and child cant simply walk into Wal-Mart and buy Grand Theft Auto. I am only 27 but even i can recall times when we as a society held people responsible for their own actions. If a child play a video game and becomes violent then the part should be held responsible for the part they took in either buying the child the game , allowing they to play it, our just not raising them the conduct themselves properly in our society. Rules are made to hold use accountable for our actions, not to be used and twisted to hold others accountable for use. To say a video game or a gun by itself caused a death is like saying i walked into a room a knife jumped into my hand and stabbed someone.
spyderknot@hotmail.com

Anonymous

15

Actually, it's much, much more absurd than blaming a gun for shooting someone, as that's the explicit design purpose of guns. While I understand the point you're trying to make, you unfortunately picked a very poor (and controversial) analogy.

For your analogy to be accurate, you would have to begin with the premise that games are primarily designed as "violence training tools" rather than simple entertainment. If you look at it from that perspective, you can see where your argument breaks down. If that was the case, it would absolutely be society's responsibility to control exposure to them.

Anonymous

16

You fail at murder simulation training

I issue my challenge at Jack Thompson: If a video game can train you in weapon handling and commiting murder in real life, then I give him a month to train his skateboarding skills by playing Tony Hawk games, and then astound us by doing REAL skateboard tricks on a very, very real (and hard) concrete half-pipe.

Go ahead, Jack. Put your money where your mouth is - and soon the asphalt will be.

Anonymous

17

f**kin great comment. Well said Sir

Anonymous

18

Advertising

Dude,

You *really* need a lot more advertising on your site. It's like the Eighties never happened!

Fackkin' sawt it aht!

Anonymous

19

yes well.........

If people enjoy playing them then why try to stop them. saying that video games cause violence is like saying "i watched heros so i tried to jump off a building cause i thought i would fly". lets stop making movies and tv shows too if thats the case. making sure people (children) understand the diff between reality and fiction would make more sense. and yes, he is a "douchebag" and a "moron" becuase he is wasting court time and tax payer money (my money) on rediculous lawsuits. the only people that need to get a life are the ones trying to control everyone elses.

Anonymous

20

Agree

And more JS popups! I love having to close those things.

Anonymous

21

NOT IMPORTANT?!!

You're right. Video games are not important, but our lives don't revolve around playing them - they are a source of entertainment and relaxation to us in the same way that movies are to almost everyone else.
Jack Thompson however seems to spend his entire life concentrating on video games in a way that makes him seem like a rabid dog. One day he will snap. On that day, and on that day alone, video games will be responsible for murders, but only until the police snipers take Thompson down.

PS, Thomspon is a moronic douchebag.

Anonymous

22

Then consider...

Referring to movies and TV shows and such, it should be considered that for quite some time, it was indeed movies and TV that were under fire for making kids violent. Really, it comes down to dissociation from reality...kids just need to know that what's acceptable in a game isn't so acceptable in reality, most of the time.

I've been playing games since I was three. I haven't shot, stabbed, strangled, etc etc etc anyone nor seriously considered doing so. In fact, when I'd get frustrated, I'd just sit down in front of whatever game I happened to want to play at the time (whether something "tame" like Tetris or something else, like Thompson's hated GTA series) and my frustration would be a thing of the past. I didn't do thing seen in games for real because I know better (even Super Mario Brothers...trying to stomp on people's heads or throwing fire at them isn't exactly friendly).

So long as kids know what they can and can't do in reality, there needs not be focus on video games causing violence.

Also to consider...do violent video games really breed violent people, or is it just that violent people who're more likely to buy violent video games? The answer should be obvious.

Anonymous

23

Your comparison is skewed

I don't buy Thompson's article that violent video games cause violence, but, with no offense intended, your comparison to a skateboarding game doesn't hold water, either.

I learned to drive a manual tranmission by playing a video game (Stunt Driving?). When I first went to play it, I put my quarter in and prepared to speed away down the track. I turned the key, but nothing happened. Then I was told (either by a prompt on the screen or by someone else near the game) that I needed to depress the clutch when starting the car. I also needed to depress it to change gears. After a few days of playing, I got a chance to drive a manual for the first time. I made a couple of bad transitions that first time, but we made a 20 mile road trip and he thought I had been driving a manual for years. He was shocked, after our trip, to learn that it was my first time.

So, I believe you can learn skills through many forms of media (e.g., books, television, video games), but that knowledge does not automatically allow one to master the motor skills necessary for the activity. When considering a skateboarding game, it probably can teach potential skaters all about the various moves and their names, but that knowledge would be useless without the ability to actually practice and develop the necessary physical skills. In my driving game example, it provided me not only knowledge (e.g., when to press the clutch, when to downshift), but also a simulated environment in which to practice my skills.

On to the types of video games most demonized by Thompson: first-person shooters. While the games themselves did not somehow warp the minds of school shooters and other kids until they snapped and lived out the games, they did provide a virtual arena in which to consider their strategies and methods.

There's another aspect of exposure to violence in media, particularly multi-sensory media (e.g., sight and sound), that cannot be underestimated: desensitization. While I cannot cite the specific studies here (it has been years since I've researched this topic), it has been proven, time and again, that repeated exposure to any form of violence in media (e.g., movies, television, computer games) or in real life (e.g., abusive household, child in a war zone) causes the person who witnesses the violence to be desensitized to its impact on others.

Think about the way paramedics an other first responders can walk up to (most) accident scenes and act without being grossed out. They have been desensitized to (made accustomed to) seeing blood, injuries, and trauma. For many in the general population, such scenes would make them ill, place them in shock, or stir up other less than calm responses. They can function in those situations because they've conditioned themselves for what they will see. From time to time, you'll hear an account of such a person who encountered something that was so far out of the ordinary that it really affected them. Such incidents go beyond their current level of conditioning. If exposed to such extreme scenarios repeatedly over time, however, they will become conditioned to those as well.

So, do violent video games cause violence? No. Do they contribute, in some way, to a process of desensitization that makes acts of violence seem less extreme or less 'wrong' than they would otherwise be considered? Probably.

In my opinion, Jack Thompson may be an idiot, but only because he overstepped the bounds of reason (i.e. he assumed that correllation equals causation) and sought to wage a personal campaign against a form of media he could easily villify. Could a causal link between violent video games and violent actions someday be proven? Possibly, but such a causal relationship will likely be present only in a very small segment of the population. After all, there is scientific evidence that shows that men who use pornography typically progress in what they view (i.e., they start with soft-core porn, then hard-core porn, and then more extreme types of hard-core porn) because they become desensitized to what they see (i.e., it no longer turns them on, so they need something more to stimulate themselves). From studies of violent sexual offenders--a very small segment of the population--we know that once they were desensitized to pornographic media, they begin externalizing their need for sexual gratification, and that such externalization also follows a similar progression (e.g., casual sex/affair outside of any existing relationship, use of prostitutes, violent fetishes, violence against prostitutes, stalking/voyeurism, exposure [this is presented as a representation of the progression and does not represent the actual progressions described in scientific studies--I'm working from memory here]), ending with sexual violence against others.

Most people, even people who use pornography (or even prostitutes) have internal rational and/or moral checks against progressing too far along a progression to sexual violence. I imagine it is similar for acts of non-sexual violence. Some people might be comfortable flicking someone off, others might be comfortable spitting in someone's face, fewer might be willing to get in a fist fight, and fewer still might be willing to pull out a gun and shoot someone. Far fewer will ever commit the most extreme violent crimes, sexual or otherwise, yet we'd be foolish to believe that media has no impact at all on human behavior. If it really had no impact, companies would not spend millions of dollars on advertising campaigns to try and influence consumer behavior.

Respectfully yours,

A parent, student, and thinker

Anonymous

24

I actually submitted a challenge to Jack awhile back...

Kind of like your idea, when he was going after America's Army as teaching kids how to shoot. I challenged him to play through all of the Basic Training stages in the game... then go to a firing range and rent a real M-16 and see how well he can load, charge, and fire it.

I agree that games do show you the principal behind how to do something (Like Pole Position sitdown arcade game showed you the principal behind driving... press gas, go forward, press brake, slow down/stop). But, they dont have the physics behind it. Clicking the LMB while playing Americas Army will cause your gun to shoot, and your reticule to jump, but that in no way teaches you what actual recoil feels like, and how to compensate properly for it

And for the love of God... I sure the hell wouldnt want someone who's only played MS Flight Simulator to try to land a B-777 I'm in if the pilot and copilot dies.

Anonymous

25

Seriously?

You don't see any difference between playing a video game that you purchased and trying to get hundreds of thousands/millions of dollars from game companies and have them outlawed?

Honestly?

Here's a clue, one infringes on the liberties of others and the other's a damn video game.

Anonymous

26

"I am only 27 but even i can recall times when we as a society held people responsible for their own actions."

No, you can't. People have always been like this.

Anonymous

27

!

HAHAhahahaHAHahahahahaHAHAHA!!!!111one...

he's a gay. I'd pay 50 to see somene kick him in the balls!

Anonymous

28

Seriously?

Okay, I no fan of Jack Thompson.. I'm against his beliefs and views on videogames.
But to be honest, some people are just stupid.
"I will pay $50 for a video of him being punched in the face"?? SERIOUSLY?
How can people say that? Just because someone dislikes videogames, and are voicing that opinion, you have to acutally try to influence harm upon that person? It's pathetic.
If you feel so strongly against his opinion, then why not do the more effective thing and provide a tough argument.

As for the lawsuit, I think the generic "I hate Jack Thompson" ones should be fine, but ones that just go into the extreame should be taken off.
No money needs to exchange hands.

DarkPhoenix

Anonymous

29

Re: Seriously?

I totally agree that physical violence is entirely over the top, and in a way speaks to the argument that Thompson has been trying to make.

Thompson does way more than just voice his opinion though. He has filed so many frivolous lawsuits he was disbarred in Florida. With the amount of money that guy has cost the tax payers he should be in jail.

Anonymous

30

People are teasing me!

People are teasing me on Facebook!

WAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH!

Anonymous

31

... Hmm.

... Someone hasn't had their "Hot Coffee" this morning. Hehe :)

Anonymous

32

Re: Re: Seriosuly?

"With the amount of money that guy has cost the tax payers he should be in jail."

He has cost the tax payers a lot of money so....we put him in jail to cost us more money? Well thought out I see.

Anonymous

33

He has nothing better to do. His suit is going nowhere, so I am surprised that they are still reporting on him.
As to the argument he made a while ago about GTA he was missing the fact that school shooters generally become desensitized because they were violent in school. They also had training with guns, practicing with firearms in their back yard, a much better way to learn how to use them then a video game. There is always a random chance that a shooter will learn everything solely from a video game, but there is a chance that he could learn from any widely distributed media source. Hell, if he just watched the news in Detroit (my area) every day he could be desensitized pretty fast.

Enkeixpress

34

Hmm..

Someone hasn't had their "Hot Coffee" today, It seems.

Hehe :)

Anonymous

35

Seriously,

He has a phone that still has a hook?

Anonymous

36

I think being gay is too good for him!

Anonymous

37

You know

It makes me want to sue him for wasting the courts time and therefor my money, and then further distressing me with the number of recent articals about his frivolous lawsuits.

I say we get a class action lawsuit against him instead.

Anonymous

38

Leave video games alone ........

and all your problems are solved! Wake up! and your phone wont ring @ night!

Anonymous

39

You ever wonder....

That maybe, just maybe, if the ENTIRE world is against you, that it's just you? Maybe it's not the entire world that's wrong?

Anonymous

40

WTF?

Who is the anonymous? He sure has a lot of time to keep posting to himself.

Anonymous

41

Dont piss gamers off

people are so dumb they make all these dumb ass claims like its a murder simulator then wonder wtf is going on when the community fights back this is peoples fun and their entertainment its like taking away the coliseum from rome you just shouldn't do it unless you can reap the reward the only one to blame is yourself

Anonymous

42

The man wanted to become a celebrity. Now he got it, except the money part.
Hi-res security camera will do wonders for stopping a drive-by shooting.
A few police reports would help too.

Suing Facebook? One have got to be an idiot.

Anonymous

43

WHAT A TOOL

ILL BET 10000 NEW GROUPS WILL SPRING UP AFTER THIS
LIKE THAT STORIE ABOUT NEW YORK SKANK
HES ONLY PURPETUATING THE PROBLEM

Anonymous

44

Jack Thompson... What an ASS.

It's called "Abuse of legal right". Not to mention just being a total f****ing jerk.

Anonymous

45

Penn & Teller

They did an episode on bullsh** on video-games and they ripped apart jack Thompson haha what a tool!

Anonymous

46

WHY!?

Seriously why can't someone just not stop while he crossing the cross walk to the court house. Hundreds of people are killed in this manner, if it went to court I think most would sympathize with the driver, who's car / truck is now damaged!

Anonymous

47

what lawyer

is stupid enough to work with this Dis-barred Joke

Anonymous

48

Proof read

To the author - proof read the article. It reads like it was written by a Chinese exchange student.

Anonymous

49

my god a country of infect and inferior consuming human beeings

no wonder u are like remote controlled; no spine; no integrity no judgement !
if a newschannel tells u to copulate ; u do it if it says someone is crazy u belive it .. omg ! waste of air u are dear facebook bloggers :) and most of all you all including me consumed this hour reading the article and wasting tens of times more money than a poor excuse of a litigator the subject will do in next 10 lawsuits! use ur brain u damn remote controlled monkeys! ... do0h .... your/my oppinion dont matter anyway but start by reading what u sh** through ur mouth(the other end of your a**) before start hating a fool !

Anonymous

50

so where is the video?

of poor old jack thompson getting punched in the face?

Anonymous

51

Oh Jackie boy.

Maybe if he wasn't such a douche, people wouldn't be saying things about him, surely he realizes that since his disbarring he's nothing more than a joke to not only the legal system but to the whole world.

Anonymous

52

Jack Thompson VS. Facebook case is now online at the AllRise public court. Join the debate and cast your vote - http://bit.ly/AllRise261

Anonymous

53

What. The. Hell.

[...] are you on about?

I don't know what you're taking, but can I have some?

O_o

Anonymous

54

What?

took you an hour to read the article?

Anonymous

55

You don't say

"Thompson's suit has little chance of success, according to Parry Aftab, a cyber-law attorney..."

Wait, I've seen these words before..

Anonymous

56

it is pity

The man wanted to become a celebrity. Now he got it, except the money part.
Hi-res security camera will do wonders for stopping a drive-by shooting.
A few police reports would help too.

Suing Facebook? One have got to be an idiot.
<a href="http://www.air-max-schuhe.com">Air Max Schuhe</a>

Anonymous

57

:)

he sucks again he should just give up and move to a different country he fails at all lawsuits and piss's off lots and lots of people for the shit he does
<a href="http://www.air-max-schuhe.com">Ray Ban Sonnenbrillen</a>

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