New Michigan law outlaws cyberbullying; violators could face 20 years in prison

Posted at 4:07 PM, Dec 29, 2018
and last updated 2018-12-29 18:07:50-05

(KSTU) — Gov. Rick Snyder of Michigan signed a bill into law that would make cyberbullying a crime if the victim of the bullying was harmed as a result of posts made onto social media or other forums.

Michigan’s Public Act 457 defines cyberbullying as posting a message or statement onto a public media forum with the intent to mislead, damage, intimidate, frighten or harass a person to cause emotional distress, or to cause the person to be harmed or harm themselves.

Under the new law, if a person who cyberbullies someone causes the victim to suffer from an assault or battery by the bully or by any other person, the bully can be charged with a misdemeanor and imprisoned for up to a year and fined $1,000.

The law stated that if a cyberbully causes the death of a victim, regardless of whether the bully physically caused the death, they could be charged with a felony and face up to 20 years in prison.

The act was set to go into effect 90 days after Snyder signed it into law.