Facebook Must Help Identify Trolls, Says UK Court
If you’re in the UK and are in the mood for some particularly malicious Facebook trolling, you might want to rethink your decision. That’s because there is now precedent for a court to order Facebook turn over everything they have on you. A UK high court has sided with 45-year-old Nicola Brookes and ordered Facebook to help identify her cyberbullies in one of the first cases of its kind.
We told you Ms. Brookes’ story a few weeks ago, when she first began to pursue legal action to have Facebook identify her trollers. According to Brookes, a comment she made on the Facebook page of an X Factor contestant sparked a deluge of harassment in the form of hundreds of lewd messages.
According to her, she was branded a pedophile and received death threats as well. The harassment became a little more serious when someone set up a fake profile in her name and used the account to send explicit materials to underage girls – some as young as nine.
She went to court to force Facebook to give up info on those who set up the fake account.
And now, it looks like she has won. Per court order, Facebook must now give up the names, email addresses, IP addresses and more of those associated with the bullying.
It is understood Facebook has not yet received the court order, known as a Norwich Pharmacal order, but will comply when it does. The order was given backing at the high court on 30 May and must now be physically served on Facebook in the US, where the social network is based.
In their Statement of Rights and Responsibilities, Facebook says that they must notify users if they are to share your information. But they also say that “nothing in [the Statement of Rights and Responsibilities] shall prevent us from complying with the law.
In terms of this particular case, Facebook says,
“There is no place for harassment on Facebook, but unfortunately a small minority of malicious individuals exist online, just as they do offline. We respect our legal obligations and work with law enforcement to ensure that such people are brought to justice.”
Apparently, anonymity only goes so far.