Court case by revenge porn victim could change Facebook

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and his wife, Priscilla Chan, at a presentation in San Francisco. Photo / AP
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and his wife, Priscilla Chan, at a presentation in San Francisco. Photo / AP

A court case against Facebook brought by a 14-year-old girl whose naked photo was published repeatedly on the social media site could open the floodgates for other claims by victims of so-called revenge porn.

The unnamed girl brought the case in Belfast, Northern Ireland, after she had her picture posted on a "shame page" on the site.

Facebook tried to have the matter thrown out but a High Court judge last week rejected the social media giant's argument.

The forthcoming trial has alarmed the tech world and could have a major impact on how social media companies deal with explicit images, especially those published without permission, legal experts said.

"A case like this risks opening the floodgates for other civil cases to be taken against Facebook and other social media sites," Paul Tweed, media lawyer and senior partner at the law firm Johnsons, told the Guardian.

"We've already seen an increase in the number of people calling to find out more. I can see it being a very real problem for all the social media sites going forward."

Tweed said publicity around the case has already lead to victims of revenge pornography seeking advice about whether they too have grounds to sue social media sites.

Lawyers for the Northern Ireland teenager say the image should have been blocked, but Facebook insists it doesn't have to do that under European law, Dublin's 98FM reports.

She's suing Facebook and the person who uploaded the photo in what lawyers claim is believed to be the first case of its kind in the world.

The girl's lawyers allege that the photo was obtained through blackmail and then repeatedly posted on a "shame page" on Facebook several times between November 2014 and January this year, Sky News UK reports.

Her lawyers argued that Facebook could use a "fingerprinting" technology to prevent the photo being re-uploaded.

- news.com.au

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