Belfast Telegraph

Facebook removed Northern Ireland 'paedophile-hunting' page after 'sting' on Co Down man, court hears

The victim is also suing Facebook
The victim is also suing Facebook

By Alan Erwin

Facebook has removed a paedophile-hunting page used to brand a Co Down man a child sex offender, the High Court has heard.

The step was taken because it breached the social media giant's community standards.

The man, who cannot be identified, was named in a series of online posts and allegedly subjected to a "sting operation" where a group confronted him at his home.

Referred to as R, he is suing Facebook and the suspected operator of the page Not One Nonce Can Escape (NONCE).

According to his lawyers he was accused of being a paedophile in a number of posts accompanied by images and videos about him.

Earlier this month a group of people were said to have turned up at his family home.

Disturbances in the street involved neighbours being told R is a paedophile and that they should watch their children, it was claimed.

He was arrested by police called to the scene, but later released on bail without charge.

The man obtained an injunction to stop any further material about him appearing on the social media network.

At a further review on Wednesday, the court was told that three postings have been taken down.

Counsel for the company, Peter Hopkins, also disclosed: "In the course of removing those specific posts Facebook came to the conclusion that the page as a whole was in breach of its community standards and has removed the page.

"The page is down and the content is down."

Sean Mullan, representing R, described the firm's response as helpful, but expressed concern that further comments about his client may have appeared on other "mirrored" pages.

Adjourning proceedings, Mrs Justice Keegan warned the suspected operator of the NONCE page that he remains subject to the injunction.

"If it's the case that (he) is behind any subsequent pages, that poses a difficulty for him. We would bring the matter back and he would be in contempt of court," she said.

Lawyers for R are seeking damages from that man and Facebook for its allegedly inadequate reporting mechanism.

Outside court his solicitor, Ciaran Moynagh of Phoenix Law, said: "My client is relieved the page is down and details about him cannot be further disseminated.

"However, he also feels the damage has been done, and will be pursuing a claim because the information alleging he is a sex offender remained live for a considerably period of time."

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