Holding Facebook to account

 

Sir, – The unlawful use of a person’s image, whether to promote a cryptocurrency by fraudulent means, through anonymous ads, or to suggest wrongly that a person has died, is an issue large social media platforms like Facebook and others must start to take seriously (“Gavin Duffy and Facebook resolve case over ads that claimed businessman was dead”, News, July 30th).

As someone who has experienced abuse and threats on Facebook, even though I know longer use it, I’m sure the case resonates with a large number of people.

All too often when we complain to the likes of Facebook or others, they are slow to take decisive action or slow to acknowledge complaints.

For ordinary lay complainants with little or no financial means, they will have to go through the process of obtaining a court order to find out who is behind the use of their image, abuse or threats through a privacy or defamation action which is extremely frustrating and costly.

The e-commerce directive of 2003, which was incorporated into Irish law, provides a significant defence to social media companies, like Facebook, which classifies them as not the publishers of content placed online by users. The get-out clause for them is that they don’t know the information is online until they’re notified. Liability is accrued where the host social media platform is made aware of the content and takes no action or allows it to be continuously used before they take action.

Two pieces of legislation are going through the Dáil at the moment.The first is the Online Safety and Media Regulation Bill and the second is the EU’s Digital Services Act. This will modify the e-commerce Act that we operate under and it will set up a commission and regulator to oversee and regulate content and complaints from the public.

All too often abusive and fraudulent anonymous users are able to walk away without any punitive sanctions being taken.

It is time that governments and social media platforms took stronger action. – Yours, etc,

CHRISTY GALLIGAN,

Letterkenny,

Co Donegal.