Facebook administrator apologized for posting a dating website ad that used a picture of a teenage girl who took her life in April earlier this year after complaining of cyber-bullying. Seventeen-year-old Rehtaeh Parsons was featured in a ‘Ionechat.com’ ad, which the social network website has now banned.
The Canadian teenager’s family said it was appalling to watch the advertisements on Facebook featuring their deceased daughter. She committed suicide after a separate photo showing her alleged rape by four boys, was circulated online.
The ads brought back haunting memories of their daughter’s alleged sexual assault followed by intense cyber bullying, which eventually forced Parson’s to end her life on April 7.
Facebook released an apology:
"This is an extremely unfortunate example of an advertiser scraping an image from the internet and using it in their ad campaign. This is a gross violation of our ad policies and we have removed the ad and permanently deleted the advertiser's account.
We apologize for any harm this caused."
On a memorial Facebook page Parson’s parents confirmed that the ads were removed, claiming that choosing her picture was a ‘deliberate’ attempt to get users’ attention to the dating website:
Not surprisingly Ionechat.com has been taken down from the Internet.
Cases of extreme Cyber bullying related to social media, especially those that lead to suicide, are not uncommon. October 2012 saw several high profile incidents, including a 13-year old Irish girl Erin Gallagher and Canadian teen, 15-year-old Amanda Todd.
Facebook has often been criticized for the frequency and manner in which they change their privacy settings.
Just recently, Carbonated.TV reported that a new policy change gave Facebook the right to use anyone’s post without his or her permission. Companies were given the freedom to use whatever Facebook content they chose in their ads. Victims of such abuses in privacy may not have even ‘liked’ or even seen these companies or respective ads on Facebook.
Rehtaeh Parsons was one such victim.
Facebook needs to come up with better measures to keep a check on the way user information is viewed and shared.
On a lighter note, check out: Facebook Gems From The ‘Other’ Message Folder (PHOTOS)