Offensive Facebook page yanked
A potentially defamatory Facebook page where Palmerston North people are accused of engaging in incest and having sexually transmitted diseases has the potential to trigger legal action against its founders.
The Palmy Rates page allowed people to anonymously post the full name and a rating of a person’s sexual prowess, assuming that the posters had had firsthand experience.
The page was taken down last night.
One post viewed by the Manawatu Standard accused a female of having chlamydia, while another suggested a male could be having sexual intercourse with his sister.
As of yesterday afternoon, the page had more than 1400 likes since being set up on October 27.
Dozens of people offered ratings complete with often-graphic descriptions, and there had been some negative comments from people who had received ratings.
The page administrator, who did not respond to approaches by the Standard, posted a description that stated: ‘‘this page is 100% anonymous, so send in your rates about the boys/girls you’ve had sex with’’.
‘‘You name it and ill [sic] post it.’’
The Standard also found similar pages for Levin, Wellington, Tauranga, Hamilton and Feilding.
NetSafe, which promotes safe use of the internet, had seen the page and had been trying to get Facebook to remove it.
Executive director Martin Cocker said the page was more than likely defamatory.
‘‘The people who are the victims of it could take civil action against the people who post content.’’
There was also the potential to sue for breach of privacy, he said.
‘‘There is a number of offences these people could have committed.
‘‘It’s clearly just not good citizenship behaviour, and not particularly responsible behaviour.’’
However, few people would consider taking the founder of the page to court because of the cost of civil action, he said.
‘‘We’ve had very few defamation cases in this country because of the cost of them.’’
Mr Cocker said pages like this were becoming more common because people felt they could get away with them online. ‘‘The postings quickly get offensive or potentially harmful.’’
But people setting up the pages could find them gone not long after they had gone up, he said.
‘‘The great majority of these pages breach the terms and conditions of Facebook... so if people make a complaint to Facebook they will be taken down,’’ he said.
'‘If people want assistance with that, NetSafe can help.’’