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Friday, September 3, 2010

Facebook Stalker Continues to Harass 12-Year-Old Girl

 I got a very nasty comment from someone who works at Facebook last week about my posting criticizing their Facebook Places feature.  The comment was very unprofessional so I didn't approve it to be displayed.  In the comment the person said that "...child safety is one of the top concerns at Facebook."  Yeah right!  And then there is this article from this morning that says otherwise.
Facebook stalker continues to harass 12-year-old girl
By Helen A.S. Popkin

Hot on the heels of a woman who's suing Facebook after the world's largest social network bounced her account (for reasons that remain unclear), comes a story from Australia about a mother who can't get Facebook to shut down a stalker using the site to harass her 12-year-old daughter and her friends.

"A Sydney mother-of-three, her daughter and daughter's friends have been subjected to a two-week ordeal at the hands of a Facebook stalker and they have been unable to get the social networking company to intervene," the Sydney Morning Herald reported Thursday.

This dramatic tale of a Facebook stalker hacking and harassing young girls on Facebook speaks to a couple of issues regularly faced in this brave new world of social media — the dangers awaiting children online and Facebook's oft-complained-about lack of customer service.

According to the newspaper story, the stalker gained access to the daughter's account and used her identity to gather information about her (including her address) from her Facebook friends, unbeknownst to the girl. The hacker was discovered, but continued to harass the girl, her mother and friends with threatening messages, pornographic images and the like.

Unable to shut down her daughter's profile, "We tried reporting [the account] on Facebook," the mother said. "We got all her friends to report it on Facebook. Facebook won't reply. They don't want to contact us. They don't want to know about it, basically. You cannot ring Facebook."

In a statement to the Sydney Morning Herald, an Australia-based public relations firm that represents the social network in that country pointed out Facebook's 14-year-old minimum age requirement. The firm also said that "Facebook cooperates with Australian law enforcement agencies to help ensure that Facebook remains a safe place for our users to connect with friends and family."

Authorities investigating the case first told the mother they had the ability to shut down her daughter's account, but eventually contacted her telling her they were unable to, and the profile remains live.

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