MISSOULA, Mont. -

News of the shooting of a German exchange student in Missoula is playing out on web pages and social media sites around the globe.

On NBC Montana's Facebook page alone, hundreds of people left their opinions in a case that's proving divisive locally and abroad.

People are talking about the recent death of Diren Dede, a 17-year-old German exchange student who was shot in a garage in Grant Creek on Sunday.

NBC Montana has found comments on dozens of websites and especially on nbcmontana.com.

"People just say things online that they would never say in person, and yet even if their name is associated with it, there’s this disconnect between the way they talk in person and the way they speak online," said Lee Banville, an Associate Professor of Journalism at the University of Montana. Banville also teaches social media classes at the University.

"People just feel empowered to talk about things they know little about, like they can make a judgment of the guilt or innocence of either of the people in this case," said Banville.

He puts people who comment online into three categories -- those who pick fights, those who comment without any context and those who are respectful.

NBC Montana found the whole range of comments, from those who take the suspect's side, to others who call it a tragedy.

College students grew up with this phenomenon. The news aired on social media. Their opinions are as varied as the people commenting online.

"It's OK to say whatever you want," said one student. "Extreme comments like that are never acceptable," said another.

But folks like Lee Banville want people to keep one thing in mind.

"When they are saying things on Facebook, they are not saying it to their 400 friends that they have on Facebook. They are often times saying things to people in the entire world," said Banville.

A world now focused on a young German exchange student in the wrong place, at the wrong time.