Facebook given 72 hours to remove paedophile monitoring page

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A convicted sex offender has won a High Court order for the removal of a Facebook page set up to monitor paedophiles in Northern Ireland.

A judge ruled some content amounted to prima facie harassment of the man and risked infringing his human rights.

Facebook was given 72 hours to take down the page 'Keeping our kids safe from predators'.

The page has been taken down, but two with similar names then appeared on Friday afternoon.

Mr Justice McCloskey said: "Society has dealt with the plaintiff in accordance with the rule of law."

"He has been punished by incarceration and he is subject to substantial daily restrictions on his lifestyle."

'Degrading treatment'

The man, who cannot be identified, was given a six year jail sentence for a string of child sex offences committed more than two decades ago.

The man, known only as XY, issued proceedings against the social networking site after discovering his photograph and threatening comments posted on the page.

He claimed harassment, misuse of private information, and a breach of his right to privacy and freedom from inhuman or degrading treatment.

The court heard that he fears being attacked or burnt out of his home.

In a statement he described the published material as an attempt to vilify and stir up hatred against him.

Details of some of the comments posted about him since his case against Facebook Ireland Ltd gained publicity had been disclosed earlier in court.

One said: "So the man, or I mean mess of a human being, that's taken this page to court, he must want to be the head paedophile and rule over all sex offenders. He will be like a god to them."

Another stated: "Put him down like an animal."

Interim relief

It was also set out how he is suffering from ill health.

Although Facebook has already removed his photo and comments made about the man, his legal team insisted the page should be shut down down.

They are also seeking disclosure of the identity of those who set up and ran it.

Lawyers for Facebook argued that it was neither necessary nor proportionate to remove a page used by 4,000 people.

However, balancing the competing rights to privacy and freedom of expression, Mr Justice McCloskey ruled in favour of the plaintiff.

He pointed out that only interim relief was being sought at this stage, and that granting it would cause minimal disruption to Facebook.

"I conclude that the pendulum of the rule of law swings in the plaintiff's favour," the judge said.

"The order of the court will be that the removal from facebook.com of the page entitled 'Keeping our kids safe from predators'... is to be effected within 72 hours."

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