Sunday 24 March 2019

Broadcaster Miriam O'Callaghan takes on Facebook over 'false' adverts

‘Prime Time’ broadcaster Miriam O’Callaghan. Picture: Collins
‘Prime Time’ broadcaster Miriam O’Callaghan. Picture: Collins

Tim Healy

Broadcaster Miriam O'Callaghan claims she has been defamed in a series of "false" and "malicious" adverts on social media.

The High Court was tolld Ms O'Callaghan intends to seek damages over the ads for skin care products that first appeared on Facebook and Instagram in May 2018.

The adverts contain headlines wrongly suggesting she has left her job with RTÉ's 'Prime Time'.

The court was told Ms O'Callaghan is most distressed at being associated against her will with what has been described as "a scam product".

It is also claimed users who avail of an offer of free trials of the products have reported money debited from their bank accounts that they did not authorise.

Ms O'Callaghan wants a permanent injunction restraining the publication of the adverts, as well as damages for malicious falsehood, unlawful appropriation of personality, various breaches of her constitutional rights and defamation.

The court was told she intends to bring proceedings against both Facebook, which owns Instagram, and those persons behind the adverts.

Ms O'Callaghan's lawyers say that at present they do not know who is behind the adverts.

As a result, Ms O'Callaghan's lawyers have brought an application against Facebook Ireland seeking an order directing it to provide her with information that identifies or may help in identifying those who have placed the ads on Facebook.

Her lawyers secured permission from Ms Justice Leonie Reynolds to serve short notice of its proceedings, seeking information about those who paid for the adverts, on Facebook Ireland Ltd.

Permission was granted on an ex-parte (one side only represented) basis. The case comes back next week.

Irish Independent

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