Sci-tech

Facebook settles with 14-year-old girl in 'revenge porn' case

Lawyers acting for the 14-year-old girl at the centre of landmark legal action against Facebook over revenge porn have criticised the police handling of the case.

However, it is being described as a landmark action given that the teenager claimed the social media giant, as well as the individual who posted the image, were responsible.

In this case, Facebook said it took down the offending image when notified about it, but it was reposted on a number of occasions between November 2014 and January 2016.

"Had they gone that day and discovered his phone and discovered the image on it, they could have done something, but unfortunately they didn't do something for some time".

In fairness to Facebook, once you report something, they do take it down. "But in this case it was hard to see why they didn't act quicker".

Mr MacDermott said he believed that one of the ways society should deal with these type of cases is for the perpetrator to be "brought to book before the court".

"I do concede that they are moving in the right direction, but they need to do more".

The confidential resolution reached in the first case of its kind in the world was confirmed at the High Court in Belfast yesterday.

The teen sued Facebook alleging the misuse of private information, negligence and breaches of the Data Protection Act. "That is why her family chose to seek legal redress", said Mr MacDermott.

"In my opinion, it has potentially enormous implications, not just in terms of the protection of people within the social media community, but also for things such as data protection, privacy and potentially even cyber crime over the hacking of images and their use without permission", he said. Facebook will also pay the teenager's legal costs.

Until now, social media firms have attempted to insist that responsibility rested with the platform user rather than the platform itself.

Perhaps this case and the prediction that many more victims of such postings may now take legal action will prove a watershed in the efforts to keep social media freer from the trolls and blackmailers whose bullying tactics can have such disastrous consequences. But what we said was that the technology is there to prevent this being uploaded and it should be used.

"Should there be legislation to regulate the platform providers such as Facebook and Twitter?"



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