Bullying victim wins court case forcing Facebook to unmask anonymous tormentors
When Nicola Brookes posted a message of support on Facebook about her favorite contestant on The X Factor talent competition, she found herself the victim of incessant and constant torment from anonymous cyberbullies. But rather than take the abuse sitting down, Brookes decided to fight, taking her assailants to court. And she won.
In her suit, Brookes claimed to have been the victim of a number of slanderous, malicious attacks. Her attackers created a page on the social network that branded the Brighton, U.K. woman as a drug dealer and a pedophile. The court ruled that Facebook must turn over the names, email addresses, and IP information of the trolls who tormented her.
For its part, Facebook is not expected to fight the court order. The company will comply as soon as it is officially served papers by the court, explaining in a statement that, “we respect our legal obligations and work with law enforcement to ensure that such people are brought to justice.”
Brooks, who filed the suit after having trouble getting the police to take her problems seriously, appears to be satisfied with the court’s ruling. “I want them exposed,” said Brookes. “They exposed me and they invaded my life. I didn’t ask for it. They wanted a reaction from me and now they have got it.”
This is not the first court case involving a victim suing a cyberbully — a Georgia teenager filed a lawsuit against her Facebook attackers after the girl’s school and police failed to help. Previous courts here in the U.S. have similarly stripped internet users of their anonymity in response to criminal threats.
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- Retweet, Sexting, Cyberbullying: The Concise Oxford English Dictionary’s newest words