Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Facebook Face-Off With U.K. Daily Over Pedophile Ring Story

Image representing Facebook as depicted in Cru...Image via CrunchBase
The Daily Mail (, the England-based daily owned by Associated Newspapers, Ltd., is in a dust-up with Facebook, which the social network giant threatens may end up in court or before the Press Complaints Commission, according to a story in today's Daily Mail.

Already, at Facebook's urging, the Daily Mail pulled the following headline from its online edition last Friday: "How many more victims of Facebook sex gang?" The headline accompanied a story about an ongoing police probe of a pedophile ring operating in Devon that so far has resulted in the arrest of a 19-year-old man on two sex offense charges. The article detailed warnings issued by authorities to parents of 16,000 students in Torbay about a gang of child abusers who have preyed on as many as 20 victims to date.

Facebook objected to the headline on the grounds that no evidence has yet surfaced that the social network site was in any way involved in facilitating the sexual exploitation of the alleged victims.  Although the Daily Mail changed the headline at issue, it has yet to accede to Facebook's demand for a written apology, instead issuing a statement standing by its story.

The Daily Mail and Facebook also were involved in a tussle last March that resulted in the paper's apology to Facebook, which wrongly was identified in a story as the social networking site on which a man posed as a teen-aged girl and was propositioned by several older men to perform a sex act.

It remains to be seen whether the newspaper will be sued or just "de-friended."
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