Facebook 'too slow' in acting on abusive page
on 11/01/2013 00:00:00
The girl was subjected to nasty comments from numerous people soon after the 'Coláiste Choilm Memes' Facebook page was set up in mid-December. She was then subjected to offensive sexual references by a number of people when she asked for posts to be removed.
The social networking site said last night it could have removed the content sooner and has apologised.
Principal Michelle Sliney said it was the school rather than Facebook which got the page's content cleared.
She said the first concern of staff was for student welfare and the girl involved has been supported throughout. She said the school reported the abuse and asked Facebook to have it removed immediately when staff saw it on Christmas Eve.
"[Facebook] responded that they were 'not able to confirm that the specific page you reported violates Facebook's statement of rights and responsibilities', and did not remove it," Ms Sliney said.
"Numerous reports to Facebook were made since then by staff and students and we are very disappointed with their response. The page is down following an investigation carried out by the school. We were able to pinpoint how it was put up first day," she said.
She would not comment on the investigation, saying it is ongoing, or what action is being taken against students who set up the page or posted abusive material.
The Facebook account of the person who ran the page has been disabled for breaching site rules.
A Facebook spokeswoman said the page had been reported to the company and it should have acted sooner.
"Unfortunately nobody is perfect and neither is Facebook, so we'd like to apologise for our mistake. We should have taken the page down sooner as there was content which breached our rules but unfortunately the page was left up in error," she told the Irish Examiner.
"We are constantly working to improve our reporting systems, which we believe are some of the best in the industry, so we can ensure all reports are acted on quickly and correctly."
The bullying of teenagers on Facebook and other similar sites has been linked to a number of suicides in recent months.
Education Minister Ruairi Quinn will announce plans soon to tackle bullying in schools, based on a working group's report, with a strong focus on cyberbullying.