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Facebook told to remove pedophile-monitoring page

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A court ordered Facebook to take down a page that monitored Northern Ireland pedophiles after a High Court judge ruled that some of its content constituted prima facie harassment against a convicted sex offender.

The “Keeping our kids safe from predators” page carried the risk of infringing on the man’s human rights, said Justice McCloskey, according to the BBC. "He has been punished by incarceration and he is subject to substantial daily restrictions on his lifestyle."

The man brought his case to the courts after finding his photo was on the page, along with some threatening comments. He claimed to be in fear of being attacked or burned out of his house.

The man, who was given a six-year jail sentence over several child sex offenses more than 20 years ago, claimed the material on the page constituted harassment, breach of privacy, and misuse of his private information.

While Facebook had already removed the man’s photo and the comments about him (including those posted after knowledge of the case was publicized, such as “Put him down like an animal), the man’s lawyers urged Facebook to shut down the page and hand over the identities of those behind it.

Facebook Ireland claimed it wasn’t necessary or proportionate to delete a page with 4,000 fans (the page is at 5,176 Likes at the time of writing). However, the judge ruled in the plaintiff’s favor.

He told Facebook it had 72 hours to take down the page. According to the BBC, a spokesperson for the company said it was "considering our next steps in light of the court's judgements."

While the page’s days seem to be numbered, those who are involved are trying to beat the impending banhammer by urging, “you have a few hours to name and shame as many as possible … don't waste the time.” Others plan to keep setting up pages to identify convicted sex offenders in the community.

Photo by Mari Smith/Flickr