Wednesday 17 July 2019

Facebook settles landmark action launched by girl (14) over naked images

A Facebook logo (Dominic Lipinski/PA)
A Facebook logo (Dominic Lipinski/PA)

Alan Erwin

A landmark legal action over a naked photograph of a 14-year-old Northern Ireland girl being allegedly posted on a Facebook "shame" page has been settled.

The confidential resolution reached in the first case of its kind in the world was confirmed at the High Court in Belfast today.

The girl, who cannot be identified, sued the social media giant and the man suspected of posting her photo.

Her lawyers alleged the image was blackmailed from her and then published as a form of revenge porn.

She was seeking damages for misuse of private information, negligence and breach of the Data Protection Act.

But following out of court negotiations her barrister, Edward Fitzgerard QC, told the judge: "I'm very happy to be able to inform Your Lordship that the case has been settled."

Facebook is to pay the teenager's legal costs under the terms of the resolution, he added.

Proceedings were launched after her photo was allegedly posted on a so-called shame page on Facebook several times between November 2014 and January 2016.

Counsel for the girl, instructed by McCann and McCann Solicitors, previously likened it to a method of child abuse.

It was contended that Facebook had the power to block any republication by using a DNA process to identify the image.

In September 2016 the company failed in a bid to have the action dismissed at a preliminary stage.

At that stage it was stressed that the social network always respond to any reported breaches brought to its attention.

The picture was taken down as soon as notification was received, the court was told previously.

Five days had been set aside to hear all arguments in the civil trial.

However, Mr Justice Maguire praised the legal teams after being informed of the outcome.

Addressing the parties, he said: "Thank you very much for the work you put in today to resolve the case." ends

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