$17,500 Payout for Facebook Diss

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$17,500 Payout for Facebook Diss

Post  nex on Fri Jul 30, 2010 10:35 pm

The perils of social networking are back in the spotlight after a British student won a £10,000 ($17,500) payout in a high court ruling after a "friend" branded him a paedophile and posted pictures of child porn to his Facebook page.

It comes as a security consultant published the personal details of 100 million Facebook users on the internet. The file is now doing the rounds on BitTorrent websites.

In the British lawsuit, Jeremiah Barber was found to have posted the child porn image to Raymond Bryce's profile after the two fell out over a sum of £80, reports in British newspapers said.

Alongside the image he posted a message in November 2008 which read "Ray, you like the kids and you are gay so I bet you love this picture, Ha ha."

Although he removed the post within 24 hours, Barber received a sentence of 150 hours' community service for distributing the illegal image.

Bryce, a 24-year-old law student at Stafford University, has since claimed that more than 800 people could have viewed the offending post, and the London High Court awarded the £10,000 payment this week on the basis of the stress and anxiety this would have caused.

"It was horrible and a really stressful time for us ... some people think there's no smoke without fire," said his mother in court, according to The Metro.

Bryce said he had been shocked when he saw the "repulsive and disgusting" picture, for which he had never received an apology.

The ruling coincides with much more widespread fears over Facebook privacy following the reports that a security consultant published the personal details of 100 million users of the social network on the internet.

The BBC reported that Ron Bowles was able to scan a large number of Facebook profiles using a piece of software code, extracting any user data not locked down in privacy settings.

The files - which contain the URL of every searchable Facebook user's profile, their name and unique ID - has now been widely distributed via the Pirate Bay file-sharing website.

Although the data is officially public according to Facebook, Bowles said he wanted to draw attention to the privacy concerns inherent in social networking.

Facebook was forced to simplify its privacy settings earlier this year after protests from users following the company's move to extend its network to the wider internet.

However, many of its default privacy settings still make user information publicly available unless users consciously opt out.

The information might then be harvested by companies or individuals with access to data mining tools.

Gawker's Valleywag blog has attempted to turn the privacy tables on Facebook, giving its founder, Mark Zuckerberg, the paparazzi treatment over the weekend, staking out his house, tailing his car and photographing his every move.

"Mark Zuckerberg turned strangers' intimate moments into riches. We turned the tables on the Facebook CEO, lurking outside his house, following him out with his girlfriend and pals, and to Chinese language lessons," it wrote.

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