Thursday 17 April 2014

Twitter ordered to remove fake sexually explicit profile of teacher

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TWITTER has been ordered to remove "grossly defamatory and offensive sexually related pictures and tweets" about an Irish schoolteacher.

The High Court heard that online posts about the female teacher account included offensive photographs and commentary about her and her mother.

Mr Justice Michael White ordered Twitter International, which has its registered address at Pearse Street, Dublin, to immediately take down the offensive material.

In a sworn affidavit, the teacher, who works in the Middle East, said that a friend had told her on December 17 last that a profile on Twitter apparently connected with her featured a series of sexually explicit posts.

Judge White said the court would make no comment on the liability of Twitter which had previously indicated it simply facilitated members of the public to engage in discourse over the internet. Twitter had denied liability for posting of the pictures and tweets.

The judge told the woman's counsel, barrister Shannon Michael Haynes, that while the proceedings had been heard in public he would direct that the profile complained of should not be identified by the media.

He said potential mischief-makers could make the defamation far worse than it already was. The court heard that a caption on the profile stated: "Horny Irish bi, living it up .... love, sex and everything kinky."


A photograph of her, posted in August last, was accompanied by the comment: "Going out tonight to get f**ked, what do ye think?" Pictures of her mother in a bathing suit had also been posted.

"All the photographs of me and my mother are in amongst a thread of other posts and comments which feature sexually explicit material with many close-up images of the female anatomy," the teacher stated. She told the judge she had not created or had anything to do with the profile which was causing her a great deal of distress and alarm. She was worried about the damage the grossly defamatory profile page could do to her reputation and future employment prospects.

"The comments-thread makes reference to ... where I live and work and to my return trip to Ireland for Christmas ... and to my mother's age, so whoever is posting the material about me must clearly be known to me and doing so for a malicious purpose," she said.

She said that both she and her solicitor had reported an impersonation violation to Twitter International and had asked Twitter to immediately suspend the profile from the internet.

Judge White said he had no doubt that the profile site was totally defamatory and the court felt it should have been taken down as a matter of urgency in view of the particular content. This had not happened to date.

He made an order directing Twitter to take down the profile immediately and remove all material relating to the teacher. He adjourned the proceedings to January 15.

Irish Independent




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