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back to article Facebook ordered to unmask anonymous trolls by beak

Facebook was given 24 hours to supply a court in Northern Ireland with the email addresses of account holders who used the site to post abusive messages about a Belfast company, according to press reports. Three staff members from the unnamed company have been targeted by messages on the site over a period of several months, the …

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Email address

On facebook your email address is e.g. troll@facebook.com

Good result there, judge.

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Meh

Eventually

Companies will pursue anyone who says anything against them which could set legal precedence over free speech.

While 'nasty' trolling is unacceptable, just remember that if you put yourself out there you have to expect a bit of this and that back.

Celebs that complain, for instance, after tweeting/facebooking how great their car is, the amazing products they use for their hair, nails, face (product advertising for which they get paid) and then get upset when a few people point out how crap they are, should expect a bit of trolling.

They need to grow a thicker skin and not throw their dummy out of the pram every time it doesn't go their way.

Companies are begining to do the same thing, if they get insulted or get a bad review they demand the comments are removed or threaten court action. So far the courts have taken a fair look at it but who knows what the future holds.

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Anonymous Coward

Have

They posted messages about how the management have ruined the company,made people redundant, treated workers like ***t, shown up their poor management skills?

D they really want their short comings aired in court.

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Yet the

Company can remain anonymous! Where is the fair and open justice in that!

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Re: Email address

Or of course the good ol' 123troll@Mailinator.com

Honestly they really think they'll figure out who these guys are via the email address?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Yet the

> Company can remain anonymous! Where is the fair and open justice in that!

What is unfair about that?

The company did not cause this sequence of events, the trolls did.

If the company is identified at this point then you will get numerous arseholes posting other crap. The abusive messages will get a far wider airing causing even more damage to the company. The owners of the email addresses might never be identified in which case this will never end up near a court and the company will have been unnecessarily damaged.

The company might be the best employer in the world or the worst and should this all end up in court then this will be revealed. For now, it is entitled to the same legal protections that you and I are entitled to and that is anonymity to protect it own reputation.

The trolls lost their right to anonymity when they posted abusive messages.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Have

> They posted messages about how the management have ruined the company,made people redundant, treated workers like ***t, shown up their poor management skills?

Of course, since these allegations where posted by anonymous trolls on facebook they must all be true.

> D they really want their short comings aired in court.

Perhaps they want the opportunity to directly face their accusers and defend themselves.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Eventually

> Companies will pursue anyone who says anything against them which could set legal precedence over free speech.

In most countries that have the right of free speech you also have the right to face your accuser. It is the other side of the coin.

Apparently the right dates back to the Romans. From Acts of the Apostles 25:16

"It is not the manner of the Romans to deliver any man up to die before the accused has met his accusers face-to-face, and has been given a chance to defend himself against the charges."

Whilst it is often only applied in criminal cases courts have usually been happy to implement it in civil cases like this one.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Yet the

Wow, you're so quick to give up your liberties! Don't give mine away.

Trolls or not, you, I and all of us have the right to express our comments/feelings, whether these are negative or not.

Boo Hoo a companies reputation is damaged due to negative feedback. I have the right to give negative feed back. Maybe the feed back would not be negative, if the company involved had served it's customer correctly? After all, you don't leave negative feed back on a positive experience.

Shall I sue those have have left negative feedback on ebay? Would you?

Don't be so quick to give up our rights.

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Meh

Re: "Yet the company can remain anonymous!"

Because to do otherwise invokes the Streisand Effect, doesn't it?

Publically complaining about being defamed on the internet is quite clearly a Bloody Stupid Thing To Do, especially if you're not entirely pure, virtuous and innocent all the way through.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Yet the

> Boo Hoo a companies reputation is damaged due to negative feedback

Try reading the article. This isn't about negative feedback.

If you want to say you think companies product XYZ is crap then say it. Nobody will sue you.

On the other hand, if you want to repeatedly accuse company XYZ of wrongdoing then be prepared to be identified and prove your accusations in court.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Yet the. AC@08:27

The company remains anonymous simply to prevent being trolled more than what it has been.

If it was all open you might find that 'the company' gets even more hassle, not because of the 3 trolls and the raging band wagon that might follow...

BUT because even more people might have a legitimate complaint against them and come pouring out of the woodwork.

Is the 'company' a BANK? Remember how Fred the Shred got his injunction.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Yet the. AC@10:04

They are not seeking an injunction to prevent anybody saying anything about them. They are attempting to identify trolls who have already said stuff about them.

Should the trolls be identified and it go to court then the company will be identified.

> BUT because even more people might have a legitimate complaint against them and come pouring out of the woodwork.

> Is the 'company' a BANK? Remember how Fred the Shred got his injunction.

Even though the company hasn't even been identified yet, you are already casting aspersions on them. It is little wonder that they have anonymity.

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Re: Yet the

Perhaps a sensible approach is only to give up the names if there is a sincere intent to challenge what is said as libel. That means if Anonymous Person says: "The CEO is a thief who steals from the pension fund", then you only pursue getting the names if you actually want to examine the allegation in court. Thus you don't ask the courts to unmask someone just so you can find out who says it, they only get unmasked as part of the full littigation process. Isn't that was is happening here anyway?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Yet the

> Thus you don't ask the courts to unmask someone just so you can find out who says it, they only get unmasked as part of the full littigation process.

You can't even begin the litigation process without knowing who you are litigating against.

It is a requirement of the Defamation Act 1996 that you give the troll libeller the opportunity to make amends before you start proceedings. Without knowing who they are you can not give them the opportunity.

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Anonymous Coward

@Purlieu

"On facebook your email address is e.g. troll@facebook.com. Good result there, judge"

The article said:

"The social networking site had a day to provide the email addresses of the people responsible and 10 days to supply more information about them to the court."

Would you like to hazard a guess about what that "more information" would be?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Have

Three staff members from the unnamed company have been targeted by messages on the site over a period of several months

targetted employees for several months doesnt sound like " They posted messages about how the management have ruined the company,made people redundant, treated workers like ***t, shown up their poor management skills?"

so your argument is out of context, it's a company defending it's workers not it's reputation.

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Re: Eventually

There are risks on both sides of the equation. I can imagine an unscrupulous competitor astroturfing good vendors. I can also see unscrupulous vendors using defamation claims to shutdown legitimate gripes. The trick as ever is separating the wheat from the chaff.

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Re: Boo Hoo a companies reputation is damaged due to negative feedback.

I'm sure you'd be the first one bitching if it was your company, you knew you were delivering good service, and yet anonymous posters were defaming you.

Neither the company nor the defendants should be held to have the proven case until it has actually been proven.

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Re: Anonymous Person says: "The CEO is a thief who steals from the pension fund"

In that case, you definitely want it going to court, with both AP and company being identified, because you've really got only two options:

1) AP has knowingly defamed the CEO.

2) AP has exposed a serious crime against the company and its employees.

Either way, somebody has to go to jail, it's just a matter of whom.

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Re: it's a company defending it's workers not it's reputation.

Article doesn't say what kind of targeted messages. It could be along either line. Moreover, companies don't generally defend employees, that's not what makes them money. They defend their reputation, which at least contributes to making money. In the process of defending their reputation, they may wind up defending their employees. And the PR flack knows it goes over better to say they are defending employees than the company.

Having said that, a company should have the same right to defend themselves against defamation as a person does. And that involves being able to face your accuser. At the same time, I don't want companies to be able to squash criticism simply by claiming defamation. It's a difficult line to walk, but one our courts are allegedly setup and equipped to handle (and if they aren't, that's the bit that needs fixing, not granting free license to either side).

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Anonymous Coward

Re: it's a company defending it's workers not it's reputation.

> Moreover, companies don't generally defend employees, that's not what makes them money.

That is a seriously fucked up opinion.

I have worked for and dealt with many different companies over the past 35 years and, with one exception, they would have all defended an employee against an unjustified attack from an outsider.

You are falling for the propaganda put out by the likes of "occupy" that anybody who employs anybody else is an evil bastard, out to oppress the innocent, getting rich from the sweat of others, motivated solely by greed, and generally not a nice person.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Eventually

> I can also see unscrupulous vendors using defamation claims to shutdown legitimate gripes.

This simply does not happen because it would not get past the first hearing before a Judge. They might threaten it but they would never actually use it.

There are many instances of companies trying to shut down sites of the form: ihateABCD where ABCD is a company name. The argument they use is that "ABCD" is trade marked and the site owner can not use it. The only time a Judge will grant the injunction is if the site owner is making money or attempting to make money from the site. Every other time the judge will leave the site alone.

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Holmes

Re: Email address

You need a non-facebook e-mail address to sign up for facebook.

Having said that, there's no reason they couldn't be using

troll313@hotmail.com,

troll234@aol.com,

etc.

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Re: Yet the

Incorrect

In the US Freedom of speech includes annymous speach. The company would have to come out and prove liable/slander. Facebook (a US based company) could easily tell the UK based judge to get stuffed.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Yet the

> In the US Freedom of speech includes annymous speach. The company would have to come out and prove liable/slander.

The clue is in the first sentence: "Facebook was given 24 hours to supply a court in Northern Ireland..." so US Law does not apply. What is more the much vaunted 1st Amendment rights only applies to US citizens and noncitizens who lawfully reside in the US. It does not apply to anybody else. It is unlikely that somebody criticising individuals in a Northern Ireland company would be either a US citizen or a lawful resident of the US.

> Facebook (a US based company) could easily tell the UK based judge to get stuffed.

Actually, it can't for 2 reasons.

The first is there are agreements, on a international level, between the US and UK (and other countries) to cover jurisdictional issues of companies in one country operating in another. Whilst facebook could attempt to get the venue moved to the US to argue it there, a US judge would likely tell them to get stuffed because of this.

The second is that if facebook wants to operate as an international company then it must behave like one. If it doesn't then it can be banned from operating in this country and in others. This would mean a massive loss of revenue (even though it doesn't quite know how to generate revenue yet).

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Anonymous Coward

Re:Yet The

So far only the court has asked for details of the trolls it has NOT said they should be plastered all over the press. It has said that the company should not be named as the case is ongoing. Are you really suggesting that the present crap legal system should be replaced by the equally crap system of the public pillory? As I recall that one went out in civilised countries some time ago, though in a few primative places, with even more crap legal systems, (thank you Mr Poo Tin) it is likely to still be in use.

Lies, dishonesty and false hoolds are still lies, dishonesty and falsehoods even when the are on crapbook.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Re:Yet The

Exactly. I read it as the court wants to know who is behind the troll identities on Facebook, so that they can be "invited" to take part in the trial, not so that the court can publish their names in the press.

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Coat

Sticks and stones may break my bones.

But call me an arse and I'll see you in court!

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Sticks and stones may break my bones.

ARSE!

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Pint

Re: Sticks and stones may break my bones.

FECK!

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Sticks and stones may break my bones.

GIRLS!

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Sticks and stones may break my bones.

It's called Libel, the law has been around for a couple of years now.

If I was to start posting McDonalds (for example) helps fund third world slavery and it's staff have sex with young boys with no evidence to back up that claim, then I'd expect to a knock from the lawyers.

If I was to say McDonalds food is no good for you, then I'd feel pretty safe.

But unfortunately the Internet allows to many stupid dick-heads to post blatant lies without worrying about the consequences.

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Re: Sticks and stones may break my bones.

long may it stay that way. Libel laws shouldn't apply to saloon bars, toilet walls or source less postings on the internet .Unless you want some hideous locked down, corporate future in which pub landlords and toilet cleaners can be forced to reveal the identities of their customers and nobody dare post anything critical of anyone or anything anywhere lest it result in protracted and expensive legal proceedings.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Sticks and stones may break my bones.

"Libel laws shouldn't apply to saloon bars, toilet walls or source less postings on the internet ."

One of those things is not like the others.

Can you guess which one?

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Lemme guess

"One of those things is not like the others."

On one of them, a fat black marker is not going to work :)

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FAIL

Re: Sticks and stones may break my bones.

Nope

They are about the same level of wit, charm and inteligence.

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Pint

Re: Sticks and stones may break my bones.

DRINK!

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FAIL

Scooby Doo

He would have got away with it if it wasn't for you damn pesky kids

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TRT
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Coat

I was in Anonymous for a short while.

But I found I just couldn't hack it.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: I was in Anonymous for a short while.

So why did you leave? You are just as qualified as all the other skiddies in anonymous.

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Anonymous Coward

I'm sorry, has the Sun website gone down ?

and all the Sun lookers (can't call them readers) ended up here ?

A load of posts from people who clearly haven't read the original article. This is not some hyper-sensitive megacorp getting hissy because somebody said they didn't like the product. 3 staff at the company were personally targeted.

I say well done to the company for acting to protect it's staff.

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Anonymous Coward

What goes around comes around

Punishment to be Hell for shills.

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