Last month we shared the interesting story of Nicola Brookes, a 45 year old from Brighton who wrote some lovely stuff about X Factor contestant Frankie Cocozza in a Facebook group back in 2011. She then faced A LOT of online abuse from trolls who weren't so keen on the fluffy-haired teenager. She had users swearing at her and sending her death threats, which is awful but hardly a unique incident online. However, the thing that made Brookes REALLY upset was when some of these trolls set up a fake account in her name and began sending explicit messages to young girls. Too far trolls, TOO FAR.
Well back in May Brookes began taking steps to force Facebook to hand over the IP addresses of those who set up the fake account and despite the fact there's never been a case quite like this here in the UK before, it seems her efforts have proved to be successful. According to Digital Trends, after seeking advice from law firm Bains Cohen, Brookes has been granted a High Court order for Facebook to provide her with the IP addresses she's been fighting for.
A Facebook spokesperson told the BBC:
"There is no place for harassment on Facebook, but unfortunately a small minority of malicious individuals exist online, just as they do offline.
"We respect our legal obligations and work with law enforcement to ensure that such people are brought to justice."
Despite the fact Facebook will be handing over the IP addresses and basic subscriber details of those responsible for the abuse, it could take Brookes much longer to actually identify them and go on to take further legal action. Chances are she'll have to obtain another court order to get the Internet Service Providers to reveal who the IP addresses are connected to and even then her search might be in vain.
Unfortunately it seems that Brookes is STILL facing a lot of abuse on a daily basis. According toDigital Trends this morning, Brookes' Facebook page Trolls & Me has received a lot of spam from a user pretending to be a law firm. Oh come on, give the woman a break.
Anyone who's spent a considerable amount of time online will probably have been at the receiving end of nasty abuse, but this case seems exceptional, especially with the fake account and suggestive messages that are being sent to kids.
Of course our privacy needs to be respected online, but at the same time trolls can't expect to hide behind their screens and get away with the kind of illegal behaviour that wouldn't be tolerated for a second in the real world.
[Via Digital Trends]