Facebook to sue Daily Mail?

Facebook is reportedly considering legal action following a front page spread in the Daily Mail that was headlined: "I posed as a girl of 14 on Facebook. What follows will sicken you".

What followed was an article by a former child-protection expert Mark Williams-Thomas, who the article claimed was able to find a middle-aged man who wanted to perform a sex act on him within 90 seconds of logging on. Unfortunately for the Mail, Williams-Thomas was actually talking about an entirely different - and unspecified - social network.

As you can imagine, Facebook - which applies very tight controls on who can interact with under-18s accounts - wasn't happy. The company's lawyers sent a very strongly-worded letter to the newspaper saying that their clients were considering what further action to take in relation to the "false and defamatory statements in the article".

Sure enough, the online version of the article has been stripped of most references to Facebook, and the paper carried a prominent apology on page three, which read: "In an earlier version of this article, we wrongly stated that the criminologist had conducted an experiment into social networking sites by posing as a 14-year-old girl on Facebook with the result that he quickly attracted sexually motivated messages. In fact he had used a different social networking site for this exercise".

While the case of the girl murdered after she was groomed on Facebook is no doubt serious, so is scaremongering about the dangers of the Web. 



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