Teenager sues Facebook and the man responsible for posting her nude photograph on the social media site
Facebook is being sued by a 14-year-old girl in Northern Ireland after a nude photograph of hers was repeatedly published on the site. In what is believed to be the first case of its kind in the world, the girl is taking legal action against Facebook and the man suspected of posting her explicit pho.
The picture was obtained by blackmail and published on a ‘shame’ page as a form of revenge claims the lawyers for the teenager. It is understood her photo was posted on a so-called shame page several times between November 2014 and January 2016.
One of the teenager’s barristers, Edward Fitzgerald QC, at a hearing in the High Court in Belfast, said blocking the sharing of the image should have been a “red-line” issue for the company.
“A naked 14-year-old’s picture was being put on a shame page,” Mr Fitzgerald said.
“If they had blocked it all this subsequent publication of her naked image would not have taken place.”
Barristers Edward Fitzgerald QC and Peter Girvan, representing the teenager, compared uploading and distributing the image to an act of child abuse.
Brett Lockhart QC, acting on behalf of Facebook, stated that the case should be struck out before it reaches trial and argued the claim for damages should be dismissed.
He referred to a European directive that he argued provided protection from having to screen a huge amount of online material for what is posted on one page.
Mr Lockhart also stressed that the social networking site always takes down images immediately to any reported breaches brought to its attention.
However, Mr Fitzgerald contended that Facebook had the power to prevent any republication of the photograph by using a DNA process to recognize the image.
The girl, who cannot be identified, is seeking damages for negligence, misuse of private information and breach of the Data Protection Act.
The judge reserved his decision on an application to have the case halted following submissions.