Court Orders Facebook to Hand Over Data on Cyberbullies
A woman who was abused on the internet has won court backing in her bid to gain the identities of those who targeted her.
Nicola Brookes, from Brighton, was falsely portrayed as a paedophile and drug dealer by internet trolls.
She has been granted a High Court order asking Facebook to reveal the IP addresses of people who had abused her so she can prosecute them.
Facebook has said there is no place for harassment on the site.
Ms Brookes said the abuse started after she posted a supportive message about X Factor contestant Frankie Cocozza.
She said she suffered a barrage of abuse and one online bully created a fake profile in her name, which was used to send explicit messages to girls.
According to her solicitor, Rupinder Bains, trolls published her address and followed her on to other forums, including a recipe forum, to continue the abuse.
Ms Bains said Facebook did not contest the order.
The website would have been in breach of data protection laws if it had handed over IP details without a court order.
Ms Bains said:
Basically we need to show it’s in the interests of justice… we need to prove the third party, namely Facebook, isn’t just a mere witness but is in fact involved in the wrongdoing, albeit innocently, but they are involved.
We were able to meet that criteria and hence the order was granted.’
Facebook confirmed it would hand over the IP addresses and basic subscriber information requested in the order.
As the subscriber information might not be correct, it would be up to Ms Brookes to obtain a further court order to compel internet service providers to reveal which people the IP addresses are connected to.
She would then be able to launch legal action.
A spokesman for Facebook said:
We respect our legal obligations and work with law enforcement to ensure that such people are brought to justice.’