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Question about posting fictional questions online

Charlotte, NC |
Filed under: Internet law

If someone goes on a website, such as Yahoo Answers, and posts a fictional question, can they get in trouble? For example: the poster pretends to be a mom and says she has a 10-year-old daughter. She claims if 5 people answer the question, then her daughter must eat a peanut butter sandwich. Or she claims for every person who answer the question, the 10-year-old daughter must take off a piece of her pajamas.

The whole thing is fictional, however, and only posted as a test to see how people would reply to it.

Could this get someone in trouble?

Attorney Answers 3


If it's purely fictional and none of the described activity is happening? Probably not. Having a 10 year old strip is pretty creepy, you will undoubtedly make some people uncomfortable and angry. Your fictional question game could get shutdown pretty quickly if it sounds as though it is tangentially related to kiddie-stripping.

I would think of some PG-13 questions if you want to play that game. Involving creepiness -- even with a fictional 10 year old - can not turn out well for you.

This answer does not create an attorney-client relationship. Please contact a lawyer qualified in your jurisdiction to discuss your situation in confidence. The guidance I have given describes only general legal concepts without knowing the exact factual details of your situation.

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The fictional question is likely protected by the First Amendment. But posting it could easily put you on the radar of the state or federal child exploitation investigators.

Disclaimer: The foregoing does not constitute legal advice or form an attorney/client relationship. Please contact an attorney for formal legal advice on any specific matter.

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I see no legal problems with the scenario you posted.

You might want to check the TOS of Yahoo answers to see if they have something to say abut fictional questions.

This post is provided for general informational purposes only and is not intended to be legal advice specific to you. This general information is not a substitute for the advice of an attorney in your jurisdiction. The attorney client relationship is not established by this post.

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