Miriam O'Callaghan’s bid for orders against Facebook adjourned

Broadcaster claiming defamation in relation to advertisements

Broadcaster Miriam O'Callaghan's application for orders directing Facebook to provide her with information identifying those who have placed allegedly defamatory adverts on the social media platform has been adjourned.

Ms O'Callaghan claims she has been defamed and intends to seek damages over alleged false and malicious adverts containing her image and name on Facebook and Instagram in May 2018.

She wants to bring proceedings against both Facebook, which owns Instagram, and those behind the adverts.

Because her lawyers don’t know who the latter are, she wants orders requiring Facebook Ireland Ltd to provide information it allegedly has about those who paid for the adverts to be placed on the social media platforms.


The matter was briefly mentioned before Ms Justice Leonie Reynolds on Wednesday.

Paul O’Higgins SC for Ms O’Callaghan said there had been talks between the parties concerning the motion and there had been “a certain offer”.

He hoped the matter ultimately would not trouble the court but the sides had yet to reach an agreement in regard to the motion, he said. He asked for that to be listed for hearing before Easter.

Maurice Collins SC, for Facebook Ireland, sought time to prepare a sworn statement in response to Ms O’Callaghan’s motion. Counsel said he was taking instructions from the United States and the case raised “very significant issues on a broad basis from my client’s perspective”.

Ms Justice Reynolds, after making directions, adjourned the matter to next month.

Skin care products

Previously the High Court was told the adverts contain various misleading and defamatory headlines wrongly suggesting Ms O'Callaghan has left her job with RTÉ's Prime Time to promote skin care products.

Ms O’Callaghan says she has “nothing to do” with the adverts, which are linked to offers for skin care products and is most distressed at being associated against her will with what has been described as “a scam product”.

She claims the adverts have exploited the trust placed in her by the Irish public and damaged her good name and reputation.

The paid-for adverts, known as “targeted advertisements” appear on social media users newsfeeds, and are designed to encourage the user to click on the adverts. Those who click on the adverts are offered various skin care products which she says are falsely stated to be owned or endorsed by Ms O’Callaghan.

It is also claimed users who avail of an offer of free trials of the skin care products have reported they had money debited from their bank accounts which they did not authorise. Ms O’Callaghan intends to seek a permanent injunction restraining publication of the adverts, plus damages for malicious falsehood, unlawful appropriation of personality, various breaches of her constitutional rights and defamation.