Facebook bans dating site that used Rehtaeh Parsons’s photo in an ad

Parsons, a victim of sexual assault and intense cyberbullying, died in April after a suicide attempt.


Kris Holt


Published Sep 18, 2013   Updated Jun 1, 2021, 6:09 am CDT

Facebook banned an advertiser who used a photo of teenage cyberbullying victim Rehtaeh Parsons, who took her own life in April , to promote a dating site.

A user flagged the ionechat.com ad to Facebook. It featured a photo of Parsons, who lived in Nova Scotia, under the headline “Find Love In Canada!”

Uh, this picture of Rehtaeh Parsons is being used in a Facebook ad? pic.twitter.com/KTXZM3ncNk

— Kevin J Naulls (@kevinjn) September 17, 2013

Facebook confirmed Tuesday it had permanently banned Ionechat as an advertiser. The dating site’s owner, Anh Dung, has since deleted it.

Dung told the Globe and Mail he’d scraped photos from Google image searches to use in his Facebook ads. He claimed he did not know about Parsons’s death when he used the image.

A Facebook spokeswoman said the company prohibits mocking the victims of violent crimes, a policy the ad violated.

Parsons was gang raped in 2011, at the age of 15. Photos of the incident went viral on Facebook and bullies tormented the Nova Scotia teen for months before she tookher own life.

In July, hacker collective Anonymous released the names of her four alleged rapists, who were never charged, while two 18-year-old men face child pornography charges over the photos.

Photo via Rehtaeh Parsons tribute page/Facebook

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*First Published: Sep 18, 2013, 7:16 pm CDT