Earlier this week, a picture of Rehtaeh Parsons showed up in a "sponsored ad" on Facebook for an online dating site called Ionechat.com. Parsons was a 17-year-old Canadian girl, who committed suicide after she was cyber-bullied on Facebook and via texts following an alleged gang-rape at a friend's house. She was taken off life support in April.
Supreme bad taste: a dating site's Facebook ad is using a picture of Rehteah Parsons. pic.twitter.com/nbYhRFr5Mc— Andrew Ennals (@andrewennals) September 17, 2013
Facebook apologized for the ad and removed the third-party dating site:
"This is an extremely unfortunate example of an advertiser scraping an image and using it in their ad campaign," a Facebook spokesperson said in a statement. "This is a gross violation of our ad policies," adding, "We apologize for any harm this has caused."
Parsons' father, Glen Canning, who has blogged about years of torment his daughter endured wrote that he was "completely bewildered and disgusted" by what he called the worst Facebook ad ever. "And there she was, smiling, and being used yet again."
Yesterday, the first question for Mark Zuckerberg, following his live chat with Atlantic editor-in-chief James Bennet, was about cyber-bullying.
First audience question for Zuckerberg is on cyber-bullying. He says key is to focus on emotional reaction to content. #AtlanticLIVE— Rob Bluey (@RobertBluey) September 18, 2013
[Image via Andrew Vaughan/The Canadian Press/AP/File]