Facebook have settled out of court and agreed to pay the legal costs of a teenage girl who had inappropriate photographs of her published on a particular Facebook page, the object of which was to ‘shame’ individuals.
Facebook had previously articulated that they had responded to previous efforts to remove the picture and the case ought to be dismissed at an early stage.
The outcome of this case perhaps shows the increasing duty on social media platforms to monitor the content and regulate the use of their services by platform users. Having said that, it ought not to detract from the responsibility which an individual user has when using social media and that it is not a shelter from legal liability for online conduct.
Going forward, this case could lead to an increased number of claims for the misuse of private information, negligence and breach of data protection obligations against the social media platforms directly.
It is perhaps a salutary warning for all social media users, platforms and even businesses who task employees to ‘run’ social media pages, to carefully consider the legal implications of doing so in the wake of this outcome.
The High Court in Belfast continues to be one of the main forums for the rapid expansion of legal doctrine in this area and is likely to continue at the forefront of developments.
At Worthingtons, we have a particular interest in social media law and we are continually mindful of the online dangers which young people must navigate in the modern digital age.
If you, or your child, have been affected by similar issues, or if you are an employer seeking advice on social media policies, please do get in touch with Chris Wallace in our Litigation department for an initial free consultation with no obligation, please call 02890 279967 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.