Facebook faces criminal charges

Northern Italian courts are considering criminal charges against the social notworking site Facebook.

A prosecutor has opened an investigation into how Facebook allowed the publication of insults and bullying posts aimed at a teenager who killed herself.

Carolina Picchio, 14, from Novara in northern Italy, died in January after a gang of boys circulated a video on Facebook of her appearing worse for wear in a bathroom at a party.

The group, aged between 15 and 17, were said to be friends of Carolina’s former boyfriend. She dumped him and he had insulted her on Facebook.

Carolina wrote to her ex before she killed herself that he had done enough to her already. She felt he had made her pay too many times. The unnamed boy claimed he had apologised to her for the insults, but she leapt to her death from her third floor bedroom window.

She wrote on Facebook that she was not strong and could not take the abuse any more.

The case has angered the Italian Parents Association which made a criminal complaint against Facebook.

It claimed that Facebook had a role in the instigation of Carolina’s suicide.

Antonio Affinita, IPA director said that Italian law forbids minors under 18 signing contracts, yet Facebook entered into a contract with minors regarding their privacy, without their parents knowing.’

Francesco Saluzzo, the Novara prosecutor, said he did not rule out investigating Facebook staff. He was investigating how the video had stayed online ”for days” before it was taken down.

He could theoretically investigate employees of Facebook who failed to respond to these requests to take down the video.

A tide has been moving against Facebook in Italy. The outfit is already in hot water for allowing Mafia goons to have fan pages, but a 15-year-old schoolboy in Rome killed himself in 2012, having been taunted as gay on Facebook.

Facebook offers a button to ”report” offensive links, but it is a moot point if anyone notices.