Facebook has three days to remove a page on its network created specifically to monitor the location of known pedophiles, following a ruling from a high court in Northern Ireland that the page was illegal and breached the human rights of those publicly “named and shamed” on the page as convicted sex offenders.
The ruling came at the end of a case brought by one of the people named on the page, a convicted sex offender whose identity cannot be revealed publicly but is known as XY. XY had challenged Facebook to remove the page after he had discovered his photograph on it, noting that he had received threatening comments as a result and arguing that the page breached his human rights, an argument that High Court Judge Mr. Justice McClosky agreed with. “Society has dealt with the plaintiff in accordance with the rule of law,” McClosky wrote in his ruling, “He has been punished by incarceration and he is subject to substantial daily restrictions on his lifestyle.”
When initially contacted by XY, Facebook had apparently removed his photograph from the page, as well as deleting all comments on the page about him, but his legal team pushed for a more aggressive solution. Although Facebook has been ordered to remove the page within 72 hours, it is still up at time of writing with 5,342 likes and 290 people “talking” about it on the network. Following the verdict, a spokesperson for Facebook said that the company was “considering our next steps in light of the court judgment and we have nothing further to add at this stage.”
Those behind the page are more pro-active, however, with the most recent comments on the page promising that, if the page is removed, it will only be a temporary setback, as a replacement page has already been created (That page, however, only has 301 likes). It should be noted that the new page bears the new instructions “Please refrain from rude/violent comments. Posting such comments could lead to your removal.” (That request hasn’t been followed by those posting comments on the page, which include “bring back hanging for pedos, they shouldn’t have any human rights because their not human” and “wow i can’t believe this guy! he has the right to be castrated and tortured for the rest of his life like his victims will be… hope someone takes a hammer to his head” Other comments include a request for names of London-based sexual offenders because people have “special treats for them” and someone suggesting that “all pedoes should have pedo braded into thier foreheads.”)
It’s unknown at this time whether Facebook will appeal the ruling, or whether it will be forced to remove the second page in addition to the first.