Facebook page monitoring sex offenders in N. Ireland posted pedophile's photo
Convicted sex offender sued to force Facebook to remove page, citing threats
Page amounted to harassment, judge finds, and Facebook removes page promptly
A convicted sex offender won a landmark legal ruling Friday that ordered Facebook to take down a page set up to monitor pedophiles in Northern Ireland.
The case was brought in Belfast by a man who had been sentenced to six years in prison for a string of crimes against children more than two decades ago.
He claimed he faced being attacked or burned out of his rented accommodation after his photograph and threatening comments were posted on the social networking site.
A Belfast High Court judge Friday ruled that some of the contents on the Facebook page – ‘Keeping Our Kids Safe From Predators’ – amounted to harassment of the man and risked infringing on his human rights.
The judge said the man – who can’t be identified – had already been punished for his sex offenses “in accordance with the rule of law.”
The judge added: “He has been punished by incarceration and he is subject to substantial daily restrictions on his lifestyle.”
Facebook removed the man’s photograph and corresponding comments, but lawyers for the company argued in court that it was neither necessary nor proportionate to remove a page used by 4,000 people. The sex offender continued to seek the closing of the page and the disclosure of the identity or identities of those who set up and ran it.
Facebook was given 72 hours to remove the page, and it was taken down by Friday afternoon. However, a new page with a similar name has since appeared on the site.