London: In a landmark legal action, Facebook has paid compensation to a 14-year-old girl from Northern Ireland after her nude images were posted on a Facebook Page as revenge porn and she was blackmailed, the media reported.
Lawyers acting on behalf of the girl launched High Court proceedings after her photo was allegedly posted on a so-called shame page on Facebook between November 2014 and January 2016, thetimes.co.uk reported late on Thursday.
"She sought damages for misuse of private information, negligence and breach of the Data Protection Act, claiming that the image was obtained after she was blackmailed and published as revenge," the report said. The representatives for the victim and Facebook agreed to a confidential out-of-court settlement, potentially opening the floodgates to thousands of similar cases.
"Had these images been put in a newspaper or on the TV there would be serious repercussions and those same repercussions should also apply to whatever platform is used in the social media world," the girl's lawyer Pearse MacDermott was quoted as saying.
The lawyer said the company should use the technology they have to be a responsible provider and remove the offensive post. The news comes days after Anne Longfield, Children's Commissioner for England, published a report warning youngsters becoming dependent on social media for their sense of self-worth, the Daily Mail reported.
She said "social media firms were exposing children to major emotional risks, with some starting secondary school ill-equipped to cope with the avalanche of pressure they faced online". The report said Facebook was flooded with 54,000 suspected cases of revenge porn and 'sextortion' in one month. Last January, about 51,300 potential cases of revenge porn were recorded, which the firm defines as attempts to use intimate imagery to shame, humiliate or gain revenge. The moderators also flagged up 2,450 possible cases of sextortion -- classed as attempts to use the images to extort money or obtain more pictures. More than 14,000 accounts were disabled over the allegations, with 33 of the reviewed cases involving children.