Facebook trolls persist in spite of High Court ruling
The woman leading the legal battle against internet trolls is still being targeted
By Sophie Curtis | Techworld | Published: 14:21, 11 June 2012
A British woman who won a landmark case to force Facebook to reveal the identities of internet trolls is still suffering online abuse.
On Friday it was reported that Nicola Brookes from Brighton had been granted a High Court order after receiving “vicious and depraved” taunts on Facebook, after she posted a comment in support of the former X-Factor contestant Frankie Cocozza.
According to the law firm Bains Cohen, anonymous internet trolls set up a fake Facebook profile account in Brookes' name and image to “post indecent comments and lure young girls”.
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In the first ruling of its kind, Facebook will be obliged to reveal the names, email and IP addresses of those behind the abusive messages, showing who they are and where they posted from. Brookes plans to bring a private prosecution against at least four of the trolls for defamation.
The order was granted on 30 May but still needs to be served to Facebook in the US, where the company stores its data.
However, Brookes told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme that the abuse has only got worse following the ruling.
“The abuse is absolutely horrendous and nothing can be done about it and nothing can be stopped,” she said. “I am not going to give up until these people are found, exposed and held accountable for what they have done.”
Brookes also criticised Facebook's complaints system, claiming that if the system had worked in the first place she would never have had to go to the police.
“I went down every avenue I could, I followed all the correct procedures, but these people that deliberately troll and target other members who are using it correctly – they should be removed from the site.”
Facebook intends to comply with the court order but said that it does already “respond aggressively” to reports of potential abuse.
“Nothing is more important to us than the safety of the people that use our service. Unlike many other websites and forums Facebook has a real name culture, which provides greater accountability and a safer and more trusted environment,” the company said in a statement.
“We provide our users with the tools to report abuse on every page and the option to block people from having any further contact with them. Reports involving harassment are prioritised, reviewed by a trained team of reviewers and removed if they violate our terms.”