Facebook has failed in its legal bid to stop a 14-year-old girl from proceeding with a lawsuit regarding a naked image of her that was uploaded to the social network.
The teen, who hails from Northern Ireland, is taking legal action against both Facebook and the man who allegedly posted the photo to a “shame page” on the platform.
On Monday, a Belfast high court judge dismissed Facebook’s bid to end the proceedings. The lawsuit believed to be the first of its kind will now continue as a full trial at a later date, reports the BBC.
The incident itself dates back to 2014, when the teen’s photo was said to have been posted repeatedly to a “shame page” on Facebook as an act of revenge. A lawyer representing the girl, who cannot be identified due to her age, compared the act to a method of child abuse.
The teenage girl is seeking damages for misuse of private information, negligence, and breach of the Data Protection Act. Her legal team contended that Facebook had the power to block any republication of the image by using the tracking systems it has in place. The court was told that Facebook should have treated it as a “red-line issue.”
A lawyer for the company argued the claim for damages should be rejected, stating that Facebook had repeatedly taken down the picture when it was reported. Like other social networks, Facebook relies on its users to report incidents of abuse, which are then investigated further before an action is taken.
Facebook’s lawyers relied on a European directive, stating that it provides protection from having to monitor a huge amount of online material for what is posted on one page.