Belfast Telegraph

Disabled girl's Facebook snaps 'stolen and altered by perverts'

By Lesley-Anne Henry

Photographs of a six-year-old girl with Down's syndrome were stolen from her mother's Facebook account and modified into sickening pornographic images.

The shocking revelation is among hundreds of claims currently being compiled as part of a class action being mounted by concerned parents against the social networking site.

Earlier this week, the father of a 12-year-old Co Antrim girl said he was suing Facebook after his daughter posted lewd images of herself on the site.

His solicitor Hilary Carmichael said: "It's not just one child who is in danger from paedophiles on Facebook, thousands of children are in danger. Something must be done to protect them. We want Facebook to sit up and take notice."

One parent who contacted her said: "My youngest daughter was living with me until June this year.

"After exposure from Facebook and Lord knows who else, she became more defiant, dressing trashy and was verbally and physically abusive to me. I feared for her safety and her behaviour.

"I hoped that living with her father would help to put her on a better path but there has been no improvement.

"With cell phones getting the internet now and laptops in every home our youngest daughter always finds a way to get on pages and upload pictures taken with cell phones. It is easy for her to endanger herself."

Another messaged: "My daughter had a Facebook page of regular teen activity monitored by myself and family members.

"However, through Facebook she was able to create a totally new site with a pseudonym and was able to post lewd pictures of herself to get feedback from guys. I would never have found out if not for a concerned friend."

One told another tale of explicit pictures.

"My 12-year-old has had a Facebook account since she was 11 and somehow was able to upload photos of a sexual nature until I immediately made her take them down."

Another revealed dangerous behaviour online.

"My daughter, who was under the age of 13, was allowed to join Facebook and make postings of herself in a provocative manner and allowed to make suggestive remarks. Her age was not verified in order to gain access to Facebook and to make the postings.

"Facebook has become a menace to our children by allowing them to have access to this website."

In America a campaign has been launched for an internet 'driving licence' to prove age identification.

In a statement, Facebook said that it provided "extensive" safety and privacy controls for both age groups 13-18 and 18 or over.

A spokesman said: "Recent reports have highlighted just how difficult it is to implement age restrictions on the internet and that there is no single solution to ensuring younger children don't circumvent a system or lie about their age.

"We invest heavily in educating people how to stay safe on Facebook via our safety centre and by working with charity partners such as ChildNet. We have good relationships with law enforcement agencies across the world, including the Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre in the UK, and employ world class technology to help keep bad people and content off the site."

Belfast Telegraph


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