Facebook has failed to stop legal action over a picture of a naked 14-year-old girl that was posted on its site.
Lawyers for the child say the website is liable for a picture they say was blackmailed from her and then posted online without her permission. They argue it was posted repeatedly on a range of pages on Facebook.
In what is believed to be the first case of its kind in the world, the youngster is taking legal action against both the website and the person who allegedly posted the image.
And yesterday a Belfast High Court judge refused Facebook’s attempt to end the legal proceedings, meaning the case will advance to a full trial at a later date.
The photograph is said to have been posted to an online “shame” page a number of times between November 2014 and January 2016.
The girl cannot be named for legal reasons.
She is seeking damages for misuse of private information, negligence and breach of the Data Protection Act.
A lawyer acting on her behalf compared the publication of the photograph akin to a form of child abuse.
The court heard yesterday that the matter should have been a “red line” concern for Facebook, which it was argued could have been avoided through a tracking “DNA” process which would identify the image.
It was also argued that this would have blocked all subsequent publications.
Facebook barristers mounted an application to dismiss the case.
Citing a European directive, Facebook’s legal team said it had taken down the photograph after being notified.
They added the site always responded to reported breaches.
Mr Justice Stephens refused Facebook’s bid to bring the proceedings to a close.