Tuesday 24 April 2018

Facebook 'backdates' its log in school suspension row

Barry Duggan

Facebook – which repeatedly refused to remove an offensive photograph concerning a teacher from its website – is now claiming to have taken down the posting.

Twenty-eight students were suspended for two days from Colaiste Chiarain in Croom, Co Limerick, for 'liking' an online posting that featured an image and text concerning the teacher's personal life on Facebook.

The photograph was reported to Facebook almost three weeks ago by the school.

However, the social website refused to take the image down, replying, "it doesn't violate our community standard on bullying and harassment".

The image was removed by the perpetrators 15 minutes after school principal Noel Malone began discussing the issue with students earlier this month.

However, Facebook has this week claimed on their support log – which replies to harassment reports – that the image violates "our community standard on bullying and harassment, so we removed it".

School staff discovered the change to the report log on Tuesday. The photograph first came to the attention of staff on February 28 and was reported to Facebook on March 2.

Last weekend, Facebook's director of policy for the UK and Ireland, Simon Milner, claimed that only an offensive photograph had been reported. As it was subsequently deleted by whoever posted it, the company could take no further action, Mr Milner said.

Mr Malone said the latest development was staggering.

"Until last Friday, they were claiming they couldn't even see it and it was impossible and they couldn't make any judgments.

"But now they have actually incredibly reposted the log back to March 2 with a version saying they have taken it down and that it did contravene.

"We have two sets of results. We were absolutely staggered last night to see all the logs have been backdated."

Facebook was contacted for comment but did not reply.

Irish Independent

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