Facebook 'not ruling out' Daily Mail legal action

Furore over the site being wrongly attributed to 'sickening' article

Facebook has contacted TechRadar with regards to the Daily Mail's recent report accusing the site of lax security measures for younger users, explaining that it is "not ruling out legal action" over the article.

Earlier this week, the Daily Mail published an article titled 'I posed as a girl of 14 on Facebook. What followed will sicken you' which outlined how easy it was for underage members of the site to get chatting to complete strangers.

After the article was published both online and in the paper, the person who wrote the piece, Mark William-Thomas – a retired policeman and now criminologist – claimed that he never once said the site he outlined in the piece was Facebook, but another unnamed social network. The addition of the Facebook brand name was in fact inserted by the Daily Mail.

This is something that, for obvious reasons, Facebook isn't happy with.

Extremely concerned

"We are extremely concerned by the behaviour of the Daily Mail, who have since corrected the story somewhat and made some clarifying statements," a spokesperson for Facebook told TechRadar.

But it's not just the fact that Facebook were wrongly name-checked but the site who really does let underage users vulnerable to online abuse has not been outed.

"We should all be concerned that their refusal to name the network they did use for the experiment is not helping to expose the real places where people are vulnerable online," notes Facebook, also explaining "we are in discussions with them and have not ruled out legal action."

Push the button

Facebook is no stranger to controversy, with the site criticised last year for not adding a CEOP report button for young people to click if they get into problems online.

This is despite the company already offering myriad ways to report problems on its site.

The Daily Mail saga highlights a problem which brands like Hoover have had in the past. Facebook is so successful it is now synonymous with social networking.

Because of this it is in real danger of becoming a catch-all term and, in turn, demonised when social-networking anywhere on the web turns nasty.


Content Team Lead

Marc (Twitter, Google+) is the content team lead for Future Technology, where he is in charge of a 14-strong team of journalists who write many of the wonderful stories that end up on TechRadar, T3.com and T3 magazine. Prior to this he was deputy editor of TechRadar, had a 10-month stint editing a weekly iPad magazine, written film reviews for a whole host of publications and has been an integral part of many magazines that are no longer with us.