Hate sites set up by web vigilantes against the accused killer of Queensland girl Trinity Bates has been hijacked and Anna Bligh has called on Facebook to explain what it will do about it. It is reported that the internet memorial sites were spammed with posting of pornography and other obscene images and messages on tribute sites for Trinity and 12-year-old Elliott Fletcher who were stabbed to death in a schoolyard in Brisbane.
The Premier's demand, issued in a letter yesterday to Facebook's US-based boss Mark Zuckerberg, came as Bundaberg man Allyn John Slater appeared in a local court charged with eight-year-old Trinity's murder.
Queensland police were monitoring chat groups on Facebook vilifying Mr Slater, 19, who was said in posts to have been a Facebook "friend" of the girl's parents. One of the groups hit 3900 members last night. The posting of the disturbing images and messages has only worsened the grief over the girls’ death, and police will continue investigating said Bligh. She has also requested that Facebook give advice on future actions to avoid such sickening incidents from recurring.
However, Facebook has declined the Australian’s requests to present an executive to respond to the various criticisms. As a replacement, an email statement by its US-based director of communications and public policy Debbie Frost was released.
Ms Frost was interviewed on ABC local radio in Queensland yesterday, and said the company was helping the police with their investigation of the cyber attacks. She spoke in defense of Facebook and advised that users could click on a ‘report’ button to draw attention to offensive content.
Bligh is determined to get it settled and has pointed out in her letter to Mr Zuckerberg that the case was very serious in having grieving parents face such issues on Facebook.
In addition, Federal Communications Minister Stephen Conroy has told The Australian Facebook owed the community an explanation of what went wrong with its site security, and how it planned to prevent acts of cyber vandalism.
Facebook has refused to speak much to the media but with intense pressure growing, it has a responsibility to be accountable to users.
Source: The Australian