Should Facebook be held responsible for teen suicide?

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The age old question of whether platform providers should be held responsible for how their services are used, has risen its ugly head once again, this time in the wake of a teen suicide in Italy, where a girl threw herself from a third story window after a video of her acting drunk and disorderly appeared on the social networking site.

As with all of these instances though, it wasn’t just the video that looks to have tipped the poor girl over the edge, but the comments and insults left by friends of a boyfriend she had left previously. After her suicide, a note in her room read, “Forgive me if I am not strong. I cannot take it any longer.”

videos Should Facebook be held responsible for teen suicide?
Facebook is just one of many sites that has been called responsible for content uploaded by users

Now an Italian prosecutor, along with the Italian Parent’s Association is filing a criminal complaint against Facebook, for allowing such comments to exist on the site. ““Italian law forbids minors under 18 signing contracts, yet Facebook is effectively entering into a contract with minors regarding their privacy, without their parents knowing,” said director of the association, Antonio Affinita.

Much of the furore surrounds the fact that the videos remained online for several days, despite repeated requests from the girl’s family and friends to have them removed.

As it stands, eight boys are being questioned by local magistrates. It’s unclear at this time whether they will be charged with any criminal offenses.

KitGuru Says: This is a tragic event, let’s be clear, but Facebook is not responsible for what happened. It can improve its response times to requests for video take downs, but the responsibility for monitoring what a child looks at online is 100 per cent down to the parents.

[Thanks Telegraph]

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  • Kevin

    Data Protection Act is not being taken very seriously I say. Everyone made their part. She should not have drank until she became drunk in the first place.

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  • Tipstaff

    It’s the same old story: take no responsibility, and blame someone else for what happened. It’s not Facebook’s job to parent their kids, it’s the parents/legal guardians job.

    As for Facebooks actions, Naked Security, part of Sophos, has a great article on the subject.

    http://nakedsecurity.sophos.com/2012/06/21/what-happens-report-abuse-facebook/

    It shows what teams Facebook has in play for requests, and the process/es involved. Did they take longer than they should have? Personally, yes, however Facebook has well over a billion users, and you just imagine how many requests to remove stuff from their site they get each day. If you believe that article then Facebooks departments followed procedure, and in the end did the right thing.

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