Tuesday 26 September 2017

Facebook investigate claims photos of sick child misused as part of cancer 'donation' scam

Jasper appeared in the media after he caught a severe case of chickenpox (Stock photo)
Jasper appeared in the media after he caught a severe case of chickenpox (Stock photo)
Independent.ie Business Desk

Independent.ie Business Desk

A Facebook post that allegedly misused photos of a sick child to claim that he had cancer is under investigation by the social media giant.

The mother of the child, Sarah Allen, complained to the tech firm that pictures of her boy were stolen to create the fake post.

Her then two-year-old child Jasper appeared in the media after he caught a severe case of chickenpox and he was covered head-to-toe in sores.

However, the fake Facebook message claimed that the boy actually had cancer and encouraged users to 'like' and comment as Facebook would then donate money for the boy's surgery.

Mrs Allen believes that the images used in the post - created at the start of February - were taken from articles about her son's illness in August 2016.

"We were warned people might take his pictures... because if you Google chickenpox his pictures are there," Mrs Allen told the BBC.

"So, we were well aware that might happen, but not in this respect, to say he had cancer."

Mrs Allen said she was told that Facebook had removed the related account on February 10 - but the account has since been reactivated.

Other posts on that profile - claiming to be Pooran Singh - features similar posts of appeals for sick children with text identical to that used with Jasper's photos.

Facebook has been contacted for comment on this case.

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