Governor Rick Snyder of Michigan recently signed Public Act 457 into law officially defining cyberbullying as a misdemeanor crime that takes effect in March 2019, according to the Detroit Metro Times. At the very least, the law makes cyberbullying punishable by up to 93 days in jail, plus a $500 fine.
“Cyberbullying can cause just as much trauma as traditional bullying so it’s important that it be considered a crime,” Snyder said in a statement to the Detroit Metro Times. “With this bill, we are sending a message that bullying of any kind is not tolerated in Michigan.”
The bill follows a number of suicides in Michigan. In 2015, a 13-year-old girl committed suicide after being bullied and taunted by classmates on Facebook. At the time, police said the social media posts did not indicate criminal wrongdoing.