Facebook Involved in First Revenge Porn Lawsuit

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A woman has involved Facebook in its first lawsuit for revenge porn. Meryem Ali from Texas was shocked to find her face realistically Photoshopped onto the bodies of porn stars and is now suing for $128 million. That sounds like a lot of money, but it is just 10 cents for each member on the social networking site. It is the total number of people who potentially saw the videos.

Last year, the 28-year-old found a profile had been created with her name and likeness. However, there was a major problem. The profile was sharing porn videos that had her head Photoshopped onto bodies, and the owner of the profile send requests to family members. Ali was devastated to find out that this had happened.

However, Facebook failed to do anything. She regularly contacted the social media company and even phoned the advertising department. Still, nobody could help her get this fake profile off the site. It took getting the police involved for the social media giant to finally do something and for the individual responsible to be caught.

The social media site is not the only entity named in her lawsuit. She is also suing the person who put the profile up. It turned out to be someone she had met three times and had allegedly kissed on the cheek. Her reason for the lawsuit is the damage that this has done to her reputation, as well as the distress that it has caused.

It is the first revenge porn lawsuit that Facebook has been involved in, but may not be the last. The site has been hit with a number of complaints over revenge porn over recent years. It seems to be the way for burned partners to get their revenge on their ex-lovers. Ali hopes that the lawsuit will do more for women around the world, and will prevent it happening to others.

For Ali it was more than just the embarrassment of seeing the photos. Her parents saw them and she had to explain how they were not her. She needed to go through the idea of revenge porn with them. While that would be an embarrassing and difficult situation for most young women, Ali’s parents are deeply religious, which made it harder.

The problem for Ali is that the Communications Decency Act protects the online providers from anything users do or say. The only time that online providers have been successfully sued was when they broke promises, which the 28-year-old says is exactly what happened. The terms of service on the site ban harassment, bullying and nudity, but continued to allow her fake profile to stand despite breaking all these points. However, the policy does not mean that there is a promise that it will all be removed.

There are also some arguments that this is double standards. Breastfeeding women have had their photos removed, but the pornography was allowed to stand. It does not make sense, and the lawsuit shows that people are getting angry and upset about the clear lack of consistency. Even if Facebook’s first revenge porn lawsuit does not stick, it should be a warning to all that users want fair and consistent treatment.

By Alexandria Ingham

Sources:

Cosmopolitan

Huffington Post

National Post

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