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Facebook gets 72 hours to remove paedophile monitoring page

A Northern Irish man, who is a convicted sex offender, has won a court order, forcing the removal of a Facebook page designed to monitor paedophiles in the country.

According to the BBC, the court ruled that the sight constituted harassment and infringed on the man’s human rights.

The social network was given 72 hours to remove the page, called ‘Keeping our kids safe from predators’. In response, a Facebook spokesperson said it was considering its “next steps in light of the court’s judgements”.

According to the judge, the man had served his punishment and did not deserve to be targeted on social media: “Society has dealt with the plaintiff in accordance with the rule of law.”

“He has been punished by incarceration and he is subject to substantial daily restrictions on his lifestyle.”

That punishment consisted of a six-year jail sentence for what the BBC calls a “string of child sex offences” committed more than two decades ago.

The man laid the complaint after finding his photo and threatening comments on the page. He claimed that the page meant that he faced harassment, misuse of private information, and a breach of his right to privacy and freedom from inhuman or degrading treatment.

Among the comments on the page after finding out that the man had laid the complaint called him a “mess of a human being”:

So the man, or I mean mess of a human being, that’s taken this page to court, he must want to be the head paedophile and rule over all sex offenders. He will be like a god to them.

Another said: “Put him down like an animal.”

Facebook has already removed the man’s photo and comments pertaining to him but argues that taking down the page is unnecessary, especially given that it is used by around 4 000 people.

The judge ruled however that taking the page down would cause minimal disruption to the social network. “I conclude that the pendulum of the rule of law swings in the plaintiff’s favour,” he said.

“The order of the court will be that the removal from facebook.com of the page entitled ‘Keeping our kids safe from predators’… is to be effected within 72 hours.”

Author | Stuart Thomas

Stuart Thomas
Stuart is the editor-in-chief of Engage Me Online. After pursuing an MA in South African literature, he spent five years reporting on the global technology scene. Intrigued by the intersection of technology and work, he joined Engage Me as the editor-in-chief. He is a passionate runner, and recently ran... More
  • JayChong

    This case could have gone either way, although the issue isn’t whether the plaintiff was punished enough for his crimes. The question in this case was whether the Facebook page was being used purely to inform the public about the risks this man posed to the populace or whether the page could have been a platform for illegal harassment and death threats against people who committed specific crimes. http://lawblog.legalmatch.com/2012/12/17/

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