Facebook removes content identifying boys found guilty of Ana Kriegel murder

Confirmation comes from company after it and Twitter ordered to court over identification of Boy A and Boy B

The two boys were convicted of the murder of Ana Kriégel on Tuesday following a seven-week trial. Photograph courtessy of RTÉ News

The two boys were convicted of the murder of Ana Kriégel on Tuesday following a seven-week trial. Photograph courtessy of RTÉ News

 

Facebook said as soon as it became aware of content identifying two boys who were found guilty of murdering Ana Kriégel on its platform on Wednesday morning, it removed it.

It said in a statement on Wednesday evening that it also used photo-matching technology in a bid to prevent this content from being shared again.

“As soon as we became aware of content identifying Boy A and Boy B being shared on Facebook this morning, we removed this content immediately for violating our Community Standards and local law,” it said in a statement.

“We also applied our photo-matching technology to prevent this content from being re-shared on Facebook, Instagram or Messenger. We will continue to remove this content from our platforms,” it added.

A spokeswoman for Twitter said: “We have an established line of communication with An Garda Síochána and are in direct contact with them on this issue.”

Their statements came within hours of a judge at the Central Criminal Court ordering representatives of Twitter and Facebook to appear in court on Thursday. The order was made after it emerged that social media users had identified the 14-year-old boys despite an order by the trial judge preventing their being named and a provision under the Children Act that prohibits the identification of minors accused of or convicted of a criminal offence.

The judge warned it is an offence to publish anything identifying the two boys convicted of Ms Kriégel’s murder and anyone who does so will be “treated in the most serious fashion”.

Brendan Grehan SC for the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) on Wednesday raised a concern with Mr Justice Michael White seeking an order for Facebook and Twitter to remove from their platforms any material identifying the boys.

“Trenchant warning”

Making the order, Mr Justice White issued a “trenchant warning” to any individual who decides to try to identify the boys, saying they will be subject to a contempt of court application and “will be treated in the most serious fashion”.

Mr Grehan said the court had “unlimited powers” of detention and fine for anyone found in contempt of court.

Mr Justice White said the trial was a particularly sensitive one and nobody could be under the illusion that publishing the identities of the accused was not prohibited by the Children Act. He also made an order for Facebook and Twitter to appear in court on Thursday morning in relation to contempt of court proceedings issued against them.

He further ordered that any material identifying the boys be removed from those platforms.

Mr Grehan raised the issue, saying that lawyers for Boy B had contacted the DPP’s office and alerted them to images published on Facebook alongside derogatory comments.

Counsel said some of the commentators seemed to be aware that there was an order made to protect the boys’ identities. Mr Grehan said the individuals who published the photographs could be identified but the images had been shared and it was not yet clear to what extent.

He said it is the DPP’s view that the owners of Facebook and Twitter had a responsibility in respect of the matter and the DPP was seeking an order against those platforms directing them to remove photos or any other material that would identify either of the boys.

The boys, identified in the media only as Boy A and Boy B, were convicted on Tuesday of murdering Ana Kriégel at Glenwood House, Laraghcon, Clonee Road, Lucan on May 14th last year. Boy A was also convicted of Ana’s aggravated sexual assault in a manner that involved serious violence.

Both boys had pleaded not guilty and were convicted by unanimous jury verdicts on all counts following a seven-week trial.