Dating site ad uses dead rape victim's image

A woman holds a photo at an April community vigil to remember Rehtaeh Parsons. Her parents are outraged a dating site used her image for advertising. Photo / AP
A woman holds a photo at an April community vigil to remember Rehtaeh Parsons. Her parents are outraged a dating site used her image for advertising. Photo / AP

Parents of a Canadian girl who killed herself after months of cyberbullying following a rape were sickened that her image was used to advertise an online dating service.

Seventeen-year-old Nova Scotia teenager Rehtaeh Parsons died in April.

Two young men were arrested last month for circulating photographs of four boys allegedly raping her at a drunken party in 2011, and are to appear in court tomorrow.

This week, website ionechat.com posted other images of Rehtaeh to promote its dating services, but it has since been shut down.

"When I first saw it I thought, 'You gotta be kidding me,"' Rehtaeh's father Glen Canning told AFP.

"My daughter dealt with so much online harassment, and it drove her to suicide, and here you have an ad on Facebook using her image for a dating website.

It's just sick," he said.

Canning said he doesn't know if the photographs were lifted off the internet and used without knowledge of Rehtaeh's tragic story, or whether the website was looking to use her image specifically to create buzz for itself.

Regardless, Facebook moved quickly to shut it down, and apologized to Rehtaeh's family.

A spokeswoman for Facebook said in an email to AFP: "This is an extremely unfortunate example of an advertiser scraping an image from the internet and using it in their ad campaign."

The ad has been removed and the advertiser's account has been permanently deleted, she said, adding: "We apologize for any harm this has caused."

- AFP

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