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Facebook cracks down on fan pages for criminals

The network responds to a fan page for a mass murderer.


Fernando Alfonso III


Criminals do not get to be folk heros—at least not on Facebook.

Facebook has issued a stern warning against users who create pages praising alleged criminals. The warning was a response to a fan page for one of the U.K.’s most-wanted men, the alleged perpetrator of a killing spree that has killed at least four people, including two unarmed police officers, and possibly harmed a number of others.

The social network’s director of policy Simon Milner chastised users who abuse the site’s content policy after a British man was arrested on Sept. 20 for creating a Facebook page cheering Dale Cregan.

“Our terms of service are absolutely clear on this kind of thing,” Milner told the Telegraph.

The Facebook pages called Cregan a “legend” while some people referred to him as “Sir Dale.” Another page, called “Sir Dale Cregan is a Hero and a Legend,” also appeared on the social networking site. Comments on those pages referred to the fallen cops as “scumbags.” On Sept. 18, “Sir Dale Cregan Hero” had 58 likes.

The pages have since been removed from Facebook. Instead, when “Dale Cregan” is searched in Facebook, all that comes back are fan pages calling for his death. One page called “Hang Dale Cregan” has collected more than 21,000 likes.

Cregan is accused of luring two female officers, Fiona Bone, 32, and Nicola Hughes, 23, to a UK residence with a bogus burglary report in mid-September. When the women arrived at the scene in Greater Manchester, England, they were ambushed—Cregan allegedly both fired on them and threw a grenade, the Mirror reported. Both women died from their injuries.

Cregan is under arrest and has been charged with two additional murders, of David and Mark Short in August. David, 46, and his son Mark, 23, were allegedly executed by a gun and grenade-wielding Cregan 10 weeks apart, the Independent reported.

The motive for the murders is “impossible to fathom,” Greater Manchester Police Chief Constable Sir Peter Fahy said.

The pro-Cregan page garnered a fair amount of activity over its short existence. Comments feature “bacon” jokes and anti-police slogans.

In April, Facebook rolled out a new reporting system that makes it easier for its more than one billion users to flag offensive content for moderators to address.

“Only a small minority of our users ever report problems,” Milner said. “This will just increase transparency around how we respond to those that do.”

Photo via Facebook

The Daily Dot