NI father sues Facebook over suggestive photos of daughter


7 Sep 2011

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A father from Northern Ireland is suing Facebook after suggestive photos of his 12-year-old daughter were posted on the social networking platform.

The case has been lodged in the Belfast High Court against Facebook Ireland and Facebook’s HQ in California.

BBC reports that his daughter posted the photos of herself on a Facebook page along with information on where she lived and which school she attended.

Her father claims the photos were “sexually explicit” and that she “appears heavily made-up” in a “provocative pose” and looks “much older than her 12 years.”

The Daily Mail reports the daughter allegedly received text messages from adult men asking her for more suggestive images and messages.

Her father said Facebook failed to uphold its terms of use, which state that members must be over 13 years old.

He believes Facebook is guilty of negligence and created a risk of “sexual and physical harm” against the child. He is looking for compensation from Facebook and is also seeking an injunction to shut down her account and ban her from opening a new one.

If Facebook does not comply, he said he would seek an injunction to stop Facebook from operating in Northern Ireland, reports Scribbal.

A writ has also been lodged against the Health and Social Care Trust for negligence, as the girl had been in care there.

Facebook statement

Facebook, in a statement, emphasised that user safety is its top priority.

“We invest heavily in educating people on how to stay safe on Facebook both via our safety centre and by working with charity partners, such as ChildNet,” said a Facebook spokesperson.

“We have good working relationships with law enforcement agencies across the world, including CEOP in the UK, and employ world-class technology to help keep child exploitation content off the site.

“Facebook is based on authentic identity and possessing a fake account, or pretending to be someone else, is a violation of our terms.  We maintain a robust reporting infrastructure that leverages Facebook’s 750m users to keep an eye out for offensive or potentially dangerous content.

“Our reporting infrastructure includes report links on pages across the Facebook site, systems to prioritise the most serious reports, and a trained team of reviewers who respond to reports and escalate them to law enforcement as needed. 

“The team treats reports of harassing messages as a priority, reviewing and acting on most reports within 24 hours. We also prioritise serious reports submitted through the contact forms in our Help Centre,” said the spokesperson.