The Punch has just left Facebook’s headquarters in San Francisco where the company sought to address the fallout from the controversy of tribute pages to dead minors being defaced with obscene content.

Following questions earlier this week from The Punch, Facebook’s global communications and policy director, Debbie Frost, told us the company was sending a letter to Queensland Premier Anna Bligh apologising for the incident and addressing the Premier’s letter of concern sent to the social networking giant this week.

Frost said the incident was unprecedented in her time at Facebook, adding it was difficult to fathom how people would decide to attack memorial pages in this way.

Frost said the company was not considering any policy change to the current system of reporting offensive material.

Tribute pages to two children who died in tragic circumstances this month - Elliott Fletcher and 8-year-old Trinity Bates - were used to post obscene messages and pornographic content. The incident has sparked a heated debate over the extent to which Facebook monitors the content people distribute on the network.

Today, Queensland’s Courier Mail reports a school in the state has suspended students who used Facebook too bully a teacher and further concerns that criminal trials may have to be aborted because hate groups against accused criminals could jeopardise their right to a fair trial by jury.

Prime Minister Kevin Rudd said this morning he would consider the idea of an online ombudsman, saying cyber crime and the use of the internet for bullying is “frankly frightening”.

“If I was a mum or a dad out there today with little kids, given some of the awful events we’ve seen in recent days, I’d be legitimately concerned,” he said on Channel 7.

Frost pointed out Facebook had posted a reminder to Australian users that they can have a lot more control over the administration and privacy of such tribute pages.

In this instance, she said, the situation arose partly because those who set up the page stopped administrating them.

Ms Frost said it was almost impossible to deal with this “level of individual” intent on such cruel and offensive behaviour.

“This is an absolutely tragic case . . . I have worked here two years and have never seen anything like this.

“I just can’t believe that people have no moral compass that they would do this. It’s pretty hard to deal with that level of individual”

Most commented


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    • Rhyanna says:

      12:49am | 09/02/12

      Iam 10 days into faecbook detoxing its very hard i dont know if i can do it im going crazy as we speak ughhhhhhhhh

    • Paul Web says:

      12:20pm | 18/08/11

      This is the reason why parents must be instrumental in teaching internet responsibility to their kids. You cannot deny internet in their lives and it is irresponsible to not engage in your children’s internet activities.


    • Graffiti hater says:

      10:18am | 30/03/10

      The website vandals are immature and insensitive, but I’d definitely rather someone digitally graffiti a memorial page than my yard fence.  It’s certainly cheaper and easier to delete than real-world vandalism.

    • Public Record says:

      09:10am | 28/02/10

      Considering the level of personal attacks, outright trolling and dirty language The Punch allows to be posted despite the “Community Agreement”,  its more than a touch ludicrous that a staffer like Shanahan is peddling nonsense about web standards, bullying and obscenity.

      The Web and weblogs are little if anything to do with freedom and mostly about mob spite.  Clean up The Punch act first, then you might have a fair place to start from.

      This isn’t a place I’d let kids browse, currently.

    • Meldi Arkinstall says:

      05:52pm | 27/02/10

      Facebook definitely needs some kind of regulation.
      Working how the exact way to do this will be complicated but necessary.
      Although it’s a socail networking site, Facebook also functions as a news site.
      Tha fact the family of a young person recently killed in a car accident heard of the death not from the police, but by logging on to Facebook, indicates how powerful the site has become.
      I think some boundaries are desperately needed and they need to be worked now.

      The same rules that apply to print, radio and TV should apply to anything that is made public (as opposed to private) on Facebook.
      Facebook certainly ain’t short of a penny, so how about they spend some of their millions on regulating what has essentially become a global phenomenom?

    • Grant says:

      04:10pm | 01/03/10


      Facebook is not a news site.

      Can we get this cleared up for everyone who thinks it is.  The laws regarding published media do not apply to facebook.  The specific controls relating to broadcasting are contained in the Broadcasting Services Act 1992 and the Newspapers and Printing Act.

      Now, for example:

      If I receive in the mail a pornographic picture or a written document that has illegal material written on it.

      Should I:

      A.  Contact Australia post and ask why they didn’t opn the mail addressed to me and check it before they sent it to me to make sure I didn’t receive offensive material.

      B.  Contact the police and supply the material to them to investigate.

    • Anthony Douglas says:

      09:57am | 27/02/10

      I may have read quickly, but am astonished that it seems no previous commenter has picked up on the most ridiculous part of it all: that Facebook will magnaimously apologise to a Premier, but hasn’t thought of perhaps doing the same, say, for the families whose kids these are.

      I wonder if their letter to the Premier will include all identifying details they have for the sickos? Or are they not ‘free to speak’ such information?

    • Jonathon Thornbury says:

      10:20pm | 26/02/10

      BAN Facebook, I hope whoever is opposed to Banning it suffers the way i do

    • Julie Coker-Godson says:

      08:20pm | 26/02/10

      I would like to add to my above post by sharing on The Punch the response I received to my post on this subject from one Jonathan Bahr who proclaims himself an unashamed troll.  But for some reason he did not want to post his response on The Punch.  I wonder why?  My understanding of blogs and entering into them is that one responds on the actual blog i.e. The Punch and *not* to a blogger directly/indirectly.  I may be wrong about this but I was under the impression it is standard blog etiquette, or have we done away with all etiquette now, just because its the internet!

      Jonathan sent you a message.
      Subject: ...
      Your reply is beyond retarded, which isn’t unexpected seeing you’re living in a backwards place such as the south coast but anyway i digress.
      There is an obvious change in culture since the early 1990’s which has come about due to the internet. For those people such as yourself who did not grow up online (which is it by the way? “you’re 20 years older than me at least” in one word, yet grew up online in another.) the social norms you learned while growing up do not apply online.
      As much as you would like to believe they do, they don’t. That should be obvious to anyone given the sheer amount of lulz generated online by us younger ones who have been here since the mid 1990’s.
      I don’t really care when you got online because you are of an older generation who still cries over the proverbial “rock music” we listen to and play today.
      As for anonymity, I’ve nothing to hide behind because I’m not posting pornography on Facebook (which isn’t a big deal anyway). Perhaps that’s why I posted on ThePunch with my real name! Who would’ve figured.
      If I were going to troll such memorial sites, I’d be sure to do it on a VPN. I’d behind 5 proxies LULZ.
      In closing, you’re gave me the exact response I was looking for when I posted my comment, hence you got trolled.

    • Steve of Cornubia says:

      08:14pm | 26/02/10

      I’ve asked this before but nobody has suggested an answer: why is it that Facebook wasted no time in taking down the ‘Kevin Rudd - Epic Fail” page ( see / ) and yet claims it can’t do anything about the hateful garbage posted on (i.e.) little Trinity’s page?

    • Harry says:

      07:41pm | 26/02/10

      Another angle is that most social Networking sites leak like sieves onto the greater internet.

      Krishnamurthy, B., Wills, C. E., “On the Leakage of Personally Identifiable Information Via Online Social Networks”, ACM SIGCOMM Computer Communication Review, vol. 40, no. 1, January 2010, N.Y. USA.

      As has previously been said tread with caution. For god’s sake what sort of people want to social network on the internet anyway? Juvenile imbeciles with graffiti artist tendencies I suspect - or worse. My advice, for what is it worth, is to keep away from them all.

      Maybe it is just too USA West Coast Seattle for us Aussies to ignore? Or question?

    • Julie Coker-Godson says:

      05:41pm | 26/02/10

      An open letter to Jonathan Bahr:  In future please write your posts on The Punch and not to my Facebook.  I couldn’t care less about being trolled or about the comments you made in your letter to me on my private email but if you abuse Facebook in this way I will seek to have you deprived of your abilities to communicate at all.  I couldn’t care less what method you use to hide yourself.

    • Sam Chowder says:

      04:51pm | 26/02/10

      Schoolkids and facebook - how naff

    • Augustus Silmarilion says:

      04:17pm | 26/02/10

      You’re just so lame, Leo. This high and mighty act like you personally are going to make Facebook adopt a massive change is pompous and naff.

    • SR says:

      01:48pm | 26/02/10

      I do much of my communicating with people in the US to servers located in the US – since the US has differenent and wide ranging laws on deformation/libel/slander than Australia, does this means that my social networking with US citizens on US URL’s will be blocked or censored by the Australian Government due to “offensive”, “objectional” and “refused classifcation” communication material?

      Looks like it will be proxys, VPNs and Usenet etc for me.

    • Mosaid says:

      12:44am | 27/02/10

      People should just be encouraging all those that don’t like being “sold communication”, to log off the internet (not the WWW) and to not rely on “commercial” media for “correct” information!

    • Jeefunk says:

      01:31pm | 26/02/10

      A lot of people talk about ‘freedom’ on public forums yet it’s well beyond the freedoms we enjoy when we’re physically in a public place. Try doing what the Facebook trolls did next time you’re walking down a city mall. Wear a balaclava and carry a banner displaying obscene pornography. That should give you an indication of what freedom is. I don’t think the Rudd government understands the online medium well enough to be in charge of any overhaul of the rules (check out their internet filter for proof) yet we’re playing a dangerous game by shrugging our shoulders and always defending the internet as being ‘free’. Lately, we could apply a few other descriptions to it: chaos, anarchy, lawlessness. Social media and blog sites are notoriously irresponsible, protected by their own self-serving terms and conditions. But shouldn’t a site with the population of a huge country be expected to do more to protect its citizens? And to those who say ‘how?’, there are plenty of ways to improve security. The reason they don’t apply them is $$$ and loss of membership. They already have a member verification system on Facebook (optional of course).

    • Nick says:

      12:41pm | 26/02/10

      “Kevin Rudd said this morning he would consider the idea of an online ombudsman”

      Oh goody. G rated internet. What will the ombudsman do? Write letters to Facebook? Or will he just add facebook to the blacklist? Thankgod for America. Protecting freedom of speech.

    • Grant says:

      12:17pm | 26/02/10

      @ obsever,

      Exactly, In which case it can be handled by the police and law courts.

    • Jack says:

      12:07pm | 26/02/10

      Congratulations, The Punch. Not only did you strike a few blows for censorship this week, but you actually encouraged someone to apologise to a government whose ministers are shamefully using the corpses of dead children in a guerilla campaign to promote their Internet filtering policy. Get yourselves some beers.

    • Jonathan Bahr says:

      11:58am | 26/02/10

      I’m so sick of hearing about this! The only people offended by this stuff are those who are new to the internet (and typically only use Facebook) and don’t understand the online culture amongst the under 30’s who have grown up online.

      Don’t like our trolling? Then get lost. The under 30 apathetic online generation were online a long time before you arrived here. You’re at our mercy and are our guests yet you act like you own the place.

      Much lulz is had trollin’ facebook.

    • marley says:

      03:48pm | 28/02/10

      Johathan Bahr - if you’re not offended by child pornography, then it is you and not the over 30s who have a problem.  Or perhaps your reading skills are such that you didn’t get that point?

    • Julie Coker-Godson says:

      01:34pm | 26/02/10

      What a charming attitude Jonathan Bahr - not.  Selfish too.  So long as you can do what you want to do, whenever, and regardless of who it offends then its ok with you.  Well I’ve got news for you sunshine, it is not ok and never has been and I am a lot older than you.  I use just about every facet of the internet and facebook but I don’t feel the need to put offensive/insulting/degrading/depraved/pornographic comments/images online just for the hell of it.  And what’s this “...the online culture amongst the under 30s who have grown up online"bit?  Excuse me, but I grew up online and I’m 20 years older than you at least.  The internet does not belong to any one group of people of certain ages, how arrogant of you to think that it does.  I hope you’ve got a lot of money Jonathon in case one of your trolling efforts lands you in hot water for either a) defamation b) libel c) publishing offensive material. Anonymity will not save anyone either, as there has recently been a case decided where a person was tracked down and convicted. The case has been mentioned on The Punch in the stories on the right hand side of the home page on Thursday’s edition.

    • Observer says:

      11:54am | 26/02/10

      Debbie Frost said this development was unprecdented?! Does she seriously want us to beleive that this has never happened before and that Facebook didn’t even expect something like this to happen? If so, she should be fired immediately.

      These events are tragic, predictable and, sadly, inevitable. Facebook cannot control what users post but it does have a responsibility to ensure its service is not abused. Clearly what they are doing now is insufficent and anybody with a nounce of sense could see this day coming from a long way off.

    • Charlie McCarthy says:

      01:10pm | 26/02/10

      No. What Debbie Frost is suggesting is that there’s no bigger sickos in the world than Australian sickos. Hey, we’ve got to win at something.

      But then you reap what you sow and this sort of perversion has been a couple of generations in the making thanks to the slow crushing of civility and the rights of the majority under the heel of social re-engineering and the rights of the individual to say and do exactly what they feel like doing, whenever they feel like doing it and ‘if you don’t like it, don’t look’.

    • Arios says:

      11:49am | 26/02/10

      I will just say this, it’s virtually technically impossible for facebook to properly police this. There are millions of fan pages and millions of pictures and comments uploaded, probably billions actually. You simply can’y write automatic code that scans millions of images to detect child porn, it would be pretty innacurate etc. Then even if you got that working, what if someone uploaded an image of a graphic beheading from iraq or something. Again, automated code can’t detect this, it’s impossible, things will always slip through the cracks. I am not saying facebook can cop out of this, but I am saying, they physically can’t implement anything that will scan the millions of pages automatically.

      All they can do is ensure that the pages are secure and can’t be hacked by trolls and that if anything is reported as being illegal/graphic, that they are able to remove it and ban the accounts concerned. Any offenders should then be pursued using the normal law, just like every other communications channel.

      What more can you ask of facebook? It’s not facebook’s fault, it’s the fault of the sickos in society who need to be dealt with. If you block and censor facebook, the sickos will just move onto the next medium that they can abuse.

    • Harquebus says:

      11:24am | 26/02/10

      Now finally people are starting to realize what the internet is all about. It is an adult place, end of story. Schools don’t need the internet, they only need a local server.

    • Julie Coker-Godson says:

      05:26pm | 26/02/10

      @Jack:  Defamation covers the spoken word (slander) and the written word (libel).  Defamation is to speak or write something maligning and untrue about an individual which lessens that person in the eyes of others to the extent that that individual suffers a loss of reputation and credibility in the eyes of the community causing that person humiliation, hurt and even economic loss e.g. they might lose their employment, be ostracised and ignored and shunned from contact with fellow members of society.  I did not say this is what happened in this case, I simply take Harquebus to task for saying that the internet is only for adults. I ask why that should be so?  It is also a learning tool that is very useful for schools e.g. think Geography or History just for starters.  I find it a wonderful place for myself as well as for others (children).  It is a great shame that there are those in society who would ruin it for the vast majority who do the right thing.

    • Jack says:

      01:57pm | 26/02/10

      Julie, I suspect you dont know what libel or defamation are…. they certainly dont cover what happened. At all.

      Also, protip: libel is a type of defamation. the term you are looking for is ‘slander’. Or possibly, in your case, PIN number or ATM machine.

    • Julie Coker-Godson says:

      01:21pm | 26/02/10

      Rubbish Harquebus, absolute rubbish!  Children as well as adults alike are entitled to enjoy the benefits that this technology provides as I said yesterday.  Nowhere since its inception has there been anything to state that the internet is “adults only”.  Schools are entitled to have the internet for their pupils and it is a learning tool as well not just a publishing medium by which people can rant and rave about whatever obnoxious subject they please.  As stated in previous posts, there are libel and defamation laws in this country and why should posts on the internet, wherever they crop up, be exempt from the law “because its the internet, Your Honour”.  Like I said:  Rubbish!

    • Jack says:

      11:06am | 26/02/10

      Dear Mr Rudd,

      I look forward to the appointment of this new ombudsman to protect us from the scary internet. I also look forward to the announcement where you explain to us all how you plan to give said ombudsman power over the commercial operations of foreign corporations operating offshore.

      I assume it has something to do with Harry Potter.

      Perhaps, once that is out of the way, you could take a shot at solving some real problems, rather than trying to grab some ‘aussie mum and dad’ votes through hollow gestures at ‘policing the internets’.

      Just a thought.

      (ps, I voted for you last time. you probably get my default anti-Abbott vote this time around, but you are pushing your luck at this point.)

    • casey says:

      12:18am | 27/02/10

      Nikki, look up socialism, now smack yourself in the forehead, thankyou.

    • Nikki says:

      03:04pm | 26/02/10

      No Jack, I’m referring to socialists and over generations, not just the term of one government. They always go this way in the end. Water finds its own level.

    • Jack says:

      01:00pm | 26/02/10

      It’s amazing how many people throw around the term ‘socialist’ as a synonym for ‘the government did something this one time’.

      But yeah, conservatives have a *way* better track record when it comes to freedom of expression. Sedition laws? Bah. Johnny was just protecting us from the terrists!

    • Nikki says:

      12:37pm | 26/02/10

      Well done, your ‘default anti-Abbott vote’ will re-elect a PM whose intent is to impose Chinese style restrictions on free speech.

      It’s amazing how many people think their freedom of speech is restricted under conservatives but will vote for socialism whose various regimes have included such glowing examples of freedom as the USSR (Union of Soviet Socialist Republics) and Nazi (National Socialist) Germany.  Learn some history, people! Freedom of speech has flourished more under free market small government conservatives than under the left.

    • Grant says:

      10:45am | 26/02/10

      @ Jack

      Your a little bit off, it’s not similar to media. i.e. printed newspaper, magazine, radio, news website or television, at all.

      It’s actually more like a communications medium, people are communicating with each other, just like talking to a person directly physically, through a telephone service, email or snail-mail even.

      So yes it is open slather, but under facebooks conditions, of course our laws will still apply, so if something illegal is said or uploaded on facebook it should be reported.

      But censoring someone for poor taste, inappropriate comments or a bad joke, is that a path you wish to head down?

      What happens to the private facebook group for swingers that is discussing their last escapade that are pornographic in nature but are strictly private between the groups members, should we censor that?

      Or a private facebook group that talks about sexual health issues, with images that might be offensive to some, but are medical in nature?

      Do you really want facebook monitoring and censoring what you can and can’t say? 

      Well why don’t we get telstra to place a bleep for every swear word you say when your talking to a mate, or australia post blacking out inappropriate text, how about Hotmail deleting that really nasty joke about someone you both know. 

      Think about the broader picture.

    • marley says:

      01:06pm | 27/02/10

      Observer - yes,  printed material or indeed spoken material, can attract defamation suits - but you’d sue the author or speaker of the defamatory comment, and, if appropriate,  his employers.  You .wouldn’t sue the company that makes the printing press for a libellous comment or the one that provides the telephone line for a slanderous one.  So why should you sue the vehicle, which in this case is Facebook?

    • Observer says:

      11:58am | 26/02/10

      Printed material, regardless of format, still attracts defamation (slander and libel). Whatever makes you think it should be excempt?

    • Heléna says:

      10:12am | 26/02/10

      a frigging ombudsman!! - hello big brother!?? imagine the ombudsman having to field concerns from every person who has taken the slightest offence to anything someone has posted, rather than just moving on or maybe *gulp* going off-line!

      the only people at fault here other than, of course, the perverted wackos posting to the groups, are the ones who set up the pages and just walked away from them - I understand it got too much, but they are able to delete the page and should have done so if they felt they could not administer them - problem gone

      it scares me that these incidents are fuelling those who wish to censor access on the internet

    • Richard says:

      10:12am | 26/02/10

      As a middle aged bloke I’ve recently started a Facebook page, because I want to connect with mates I went to school with in the mid 70’s. I think that was one of the intentions of Facebook originally, wasn’t it? Or I have I got that bit wrong?

    • Clay says:

      12:15am | 27/02/10

      You have been misinformed Richard. Facebook was actually created to slag out dead kids.

    • acker says:

      09:12am | 26/02/10

      Did “Facebook” send a private jet over here to take you to their headquarters Leo ?....“The Punch has just left Facebook’s headquarters in San Francisco”

    • julia says:

      08:59am | 26/02/10

      I agree with Grant. Facebook was set up with every good intention of bringing people together.

      The very sad thing is the killer apparently befriended the family via Facebook and a pack of heartless b*st*rds used it again to twist the knife.

      Online predators won’t just go straight for the kids, they’ll go for parents too.

    • cam says:

      03:15pm | 26/02/10

      @julia that’s funny, cos i always thought it was so mark zuckerberg could meet chicks. #revisionist

    • julia says:

      02:00pm | 26/02/10

      @ Jack: it was set up to help college/university students get in touch with people from their home towns. It started as an electronic replica of some sort of directory many colleges have in the US.

      It’s become a moneymaker because its a good idea and socially allows people to stay in touch.

      Trust me. I’m a stay at home mother and I haven’t gone mad and I attribute it to the fact I can stay in touch with people I don’t see every day.

      But I’m cautious and what’s happened with the murder in Bundy is a warning to anyone who makes a new friend on FB. Protect your kids. Protect yourself.

    • Zeta says:

      10:44am | 26/02/10

      @ Jack Thomas - You neglected to mention the second round of Facebook venture capital funding for Facebook, the $12.7 million from venture capital firm Accel Partners and its manager, James Breyer; former chairman of the National Venture Capital Association who served on the board with Gilman Louie, CEO of In-Q-Tel, a venture capital firm established by the Central Intelligence Agency in 1999 to invest in data mining technology. In-Q-Tel had previously provided start up capital for PayPal, and thus the circle is complete.

      Just saying.

    • Jack Thomas says:

      09:57am | 26/02/10

      Sorry to burst your bubble Julia, but Facebook was set up to make money, like any other business.

      In 2004, Peter Thiel met Harvard student Mark Zuckerberg and invested $500,000 to establish Facebook as a business. Peter Thiel is an American entrepreneur, hedge fund manager, libertarian and venture capitalist. With Max Levchin, Thiel co-founded PayPal and was its CEO. He currently serves as president of Clarium Capital, a global macro hedge fund with more than $2 billion under management, and a managing partner in The Founders Fund, a $275 million venture capital fund he launched with Ken Howery and Luke Nosek in 2005. He sits on the Facebook board of directors. Thiel was ranked #377 on the Forbes 400, with a net worth of $1.3 billion.

      The ‘good intentions’ were not evident when its developer Mark Zuckerberg took $1.4 billion from the sale of just 1.6% to Microsoft.

      Grant & SLF, I disagree. The responsibility of Facebook to the public is no different to any other media, or citizen. They live within a society that has laws and accepted norms of behaviour.

      To claim because this is online it should be just open slather for anything suggests that we should not have any laws anywhere, we should all just be allowed to do or publish anything.

      Facebook and its online friends can’t have it both ways.

      If you want to live and operate within our soceity, make money out of publishing information, selling advertising, to list your company on the stock exchange, or otherwise live within our society’s rules and protection, then you must accept some regulation.

      It seems to me like the footballer who takes the fame and millions of dollars in sponsorship etc, but then whinges about having to live within our accepted standards of behaviour, not being able to get drunk and assault or gang rape girls, etc. Or the muppets who whinge that part of their tax should not go to a certain thing.

      Just like any other form of media, if you allow it to be published you must accept some responsibility, even if that is only acting to withdraw it promptly. If you publish something that is clearly illegal then you lose the right to privacy from being investigated, just like anyother crime.

      The whole new media debate assumes we are a new society as well, or that the new media should dictate how soceity operates rather than the other way round.

      People who think that way can go live on a self contained island with their paedo mates posting kiddie p0rn and other grossly offensive content to each other.

    • Shar says:

      08:58am | 26/02/10

      They could change three things:

      1.  Not allow the initiating admin to resign from the page;
      2.  Not allow trolls to “block” the admins, thereby giving them free reign to post whatever they like - the admins can’t do anything about the offending posts/pictures as they can’t even see them;
      3.  Give us an emergency contact at Facebook for instances of illegal content (eg. pornographic images of children as seen on the RIP Elliot Fletcher page)

      I don’t think that these three changes would be asking too much!

    • Gary says:

      01:09pm | 02/03/10

      Yep, Click “Report this photo”. Read, Comprehend!
      Why should they have a 24hr telephone operator? call the cops if thats not good enough. geez

    • Trish says:

      01:05pm | 02/03/10

      Shar the emergency contact is the police. If an illegal act is committed you call the police.If someone sends you child porn in the mail or a death threat you call the police, not your postie. When crimes are committed it is the only agency that we as a community trust to deal with these matters. The appropriate authorities can then investigate fully.

      Did you call the police? or too lazy and couldn’t be bothered?

    • Shar says:

      09:39pm | 27/02/10

      Kirsty & Moss: We are talking about child pornography here, not “mean comments” of which I couldn’t give two hoots about.  Read.  Comprehend.

      Joe: As stated a number of times, the request is for an emergency contact not a telephone number.  Read.  Comprehend.

      You really are a simple bunch lol!  Why not look at solutions - or is that simply too hard for you lot?!  The “emergency contact” could simply be a prioritised option of the current reporting function.  An option that specifically identifies the offending photo as child pornography so that it can be dealt with more promptly.

    • Moss says:

      12:25am | 27/02/10

      Someone sent me a threatening letter in the mail. Where is the Australia Post emergency button!

    • Kirsty says:

      12:12am | 27/02/10

      Shar how about an emergency button removing annoying RIP pages. If its such a problem people shouldn’t make one up. No one else but family and relatives wants to see it! If you dont want randoms looking and making obscene comments dont let non-invites join. simple!

      Then we dont have to hear about all you people complaining about the horrors of people posting mean comments about the horrors that you bothered to make a page about.

    • Joe says:

      11:33pm | 26/02/10

      Shar Facebook has 400 million members, can you imagine how many reports they receive from people each day or even every minute?  While they obviously have to then go and assess the material to make a decision whether to remove it, all of which takes time.  If as you say the offenders were making repeated posts every few minutes, do you think Facebook staff would of been able to keep up in removing the offensive material, just as quickly?  It is after all a free service and I doubt they have huge numbers of staff sitting around, just waiting to deal with a situation like this, particularly given the timezone difference between here and the US.

      Really you shouldn’t blame Facebook, they merely provide a service and aren’t responsible for other people’s action.  In fact it was the administrators of the group, who made a public group that opened up a very personal tragedy for all of those 400 million members to comment, including those who posted this offensive material.  Sooner or later, someone was going to say or do something stupid, it is simply the way people are and there has always been people in this world who seek to cause trouble and offense to others.  Without a doubt, there is quite a few of those found amongst the 400 million users of Facebook.  If the administrators had kept the group private instead, which probably would of been more appropriate considering the circumstances, this never would of happened.

      While if you think any web host is willing or happy to host child pornography, you are very much mistaken.  If any web host do not act to remove child pornography once they are informed, they become guilty of a crime themselves.  Apart from being perhaps the most offensive material found on the internet, it also has the most serious legal consequences being illegal around the world and of course leads to the involvement of the police or other authorities.  It is highly likely after the first report, they were immediately in contact the FBI (the relevant authority in the US), handing over the evidence and IP addresses of those who posted it, in order to identify those who posted it and to allow the offenders to be prosecuted.  However again, this is not instantaneous and would take time for the staff to do this.

      Although if you want an emergency contact number, for a company in America, are you willing you pay the international charges involved in calling them and most likely end up with Facebook charging to use their site, in order to pay for this service, which after all would have to be available 24 hours a day and in every language spoken by Facebook users around the world?

    • Shar says:

      05:29pm | 26/02/10

      Furthermore, Luke: did you read the post you responded to?  It clearly states that “And whilst the content is reported, it isn’t removed fast enough”! 

      What is it with comments on this site, people don’t read posts, or if they do, they don’t comprehend them…

    • Shar says:

      05:23pm | 26/02/10

      Yes Luke, of course I did.  However, the troll/s were posting the same or similar images every few minutes because of course there were no admins to block them.

    • Luke Smith says:

      04:58pm | 26/02/10

      Shar: Did you actually use the REPORT button?

    • Shar says:

      03:09pm | 26/02/10

      Jack, unlike you, I don’t think that child pornography is something to make light of.  And whilst the content is reported, it isn’t removed fast enough. 

      I don’t know if you saw the images posted onto the RIP Elliot Fletcher page last week, but I did, and they were incredibly disturbing and upsetting.  I personally searched Facebook’s help pages to try and find some way of having these images removed more quickly, but to no avail.

      So yes, to sum up, I do think that there should be a “superspecial” way to report illegal images of child pornography and abuse and frankly, if you don’t, I don’t really care.

    • Jack says:

      02:52pm | 26/02/10

      Regardless, it’s a stupid idea. They have a way to report inappropriate content already… but now they should have another, superspecial way to do the same thing?

      This is almost as awesome as the ‘internet panic button’ that was being pushed by some family group a few weeks ago.

      FFS, supervise your kids if the internet is so scary.

    • Shar says:

      02:37pm | 26/02/10

      Jack, learn how to read. 

      It says “emergency contact”... which can mean online help or email contact.

    • Jack says:

      10:58am | 26/02/10

      An ‘emergency number’?

      Dear Facebooks, I have an internetemergency! Someone was mean to me on the twitterspace!

      Yeah, I see that happening.

    • SLF says:

      08:58am | 26/02/10

      Load of nonsense.

      Facebook is a communication channel, It should not have to apologies for the stupidity of its users regardless of how childish their behaviour.

      It should however tighten its policies on moderation and ensure that materials deemed illegal are quickly removed.

      However the easy solution would be to ban makwish, self indilgent grief groups or remind paople that contraty viewpoints are allowed.

    • Grant says:

      08:49am | 26/02/10

      Facebook is not going to change the policy because there is no reason to.

      You can not regulate what people are going to say on what basically is an online forum.

      Cruel and offensive behaviour, yeah, so what…  is it illegal?  If someone posts illegal material then report it to police, so they can be pursued through the appropriate legal channels.

      Do we expect Telstra to monitor and record all of our phone conversations and for them to listen for keywords and watch for illegal activities?  No we don’t its ridiculous and a breach of privacy.

    • TB says:

      06:16pm | 26/02/10

      Of course he doesn’t, Greg - Grant is simply calling for a modicum of sanity in this brouhaha (which has sadly been absent). In my observation of the coverage of this farce in the media I’ve seen a whole lot of outrage from what I call the “Faux Free Speech Brigade” - those who think so-called free speech is fine as long as it’s speech they agree with and find unoffensive, i.e. their speech (a viewpoint I find most offensive, but I’m not going to campaign to have their voices muted). I think incidents like this cast much-needed light on the sicknesses so prevalent in our society, sicknesses which run so deep it’s ludicrous to think that changing some website policies will do anything to address them.

      On another note, I find Debbie Frost’s description of these events as “unprecedented” to be a ****ing joke. Does she even USE Facebook? Did she just start working there? Page vandalism, account vandalism and outright account theft aren’t exactly unheard of phenomena.

    • pabz says:

      04:54pm | 26/02/10


      he didnt actually say that did he?

      he just asked if there was an expectation.

    • Greg says:

      11:47am | 26/02/10

      Do you think that communication of an electronic type isn’t monitored or stored somewhere without your knowledge?


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