In what is believed to be the first case of its kind, Facebook being sued over the repeated postings of a nude photograph of a teenager in Northern Ireland on the 'shame page' of the social media's site. The nude photograph was said to have been posted on Facebook between November 2014 and January 2016.
The teenager is suing both Facebook and the man believed to have posted the photograph. The girl's lawyers claim that the nude picture was obtained through blackmail and was published online as a form of revenge.
The girl, who cannot be identified, is seeking damages for misuse of private information, negligence and breach of the Data Protection Act.
Barristers Edward Fitzgerald QC and Peter Girvan, who were representing the girl, likened the posting of her nude photograph to 'child abuse'. They said the social media giant had the power to block any republication of the photo by using a DNA process to identify the image.
Fitzgerald told the court in Belfast that it should have been a 'red line' issue for the company. "A naked 14-year-old picture was being put on a shame page. If they had blocked it all this subsequent publication of her naked image would not have taken place," he told the court, reported The Irish Times.
Brett Lockhart QC, the legal counsel for Facebook however said that the case should be struck out, referring to a European directive that he says provides protection from having to monitor a vast amount of online material for what is posted on one page. The social media group argued that it always took the offending picture down once it was notified.
Judgement on an application to halt the case has been reserved by the judge.