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Texas woman files $123 million revenge porn suit against Facebook

Published time: July 30, 2014 16:28
Reuters / Valentin Flauraud

Reuters / Valentin Flauraud

A Texas woman wants Facebook to pay her $123 million —10 cents for each of its 1.23 billion users — because the social networking site failed to immediately delete “revenge porn” uploaded by an old friend.

The request for compensation was made in a recent lawsuit filed by attorneys representing Meryem Ali of Houston, Texas in which both Facebook and a former acquaintance of the woman, Adeel Shah Khan of Illinois, are named as defendants.

According to The Wrap, the suit alleges that Facebook ignored repeated requests from Ali to rid the site of falsified, lewd images purported to be of her uploaded presumably by Khan.

The suit insists that Khan created an “imposter Facebook” account under Ali’s name, and then uploaded several images in which the woman’s face was edited onto “phony, naked body shots,” including at least one involving a sex act.

Attorneys for Ali say she learned about the fake account in December 2013 after being alerted by family members and friends. According to Texas Lawyer, she then asked Facebook several times over several months to delete the page, but they failed to do so until February after they were subpoenaed by the Houston Police Department in an effort to identify the “true source” of the “clearly offensive, disparaging and defamatory” imposter account.

Khan “negligently, knowingly and/or intentionally, maliciously and/or with gross negligence” violated Ali’s privacy, the suit alleges, and Facebook is at fault for failing to act in a timely matter.

It’s a pretty serious situation,” David Altenbern, an attorney for the woman, added to Texas Lawyer. “She is obviously very mad about what happened, very upset.”

"These phony photos falsely and maliciously depicted plaintiff in a clearly derogatory and false light … as some overly bold and overly aggressive sexual person, which plaintiff in fact and truth is not,” Ali’s attorneys allege in the suit. Meanwhile, they add, Facebook has paid “tens of millions due to privacy concern violations alleged against Facebook,” and now should “stand up, take notice and pay attention to the serious privacy violations concerns involved in revenge porn situations.”

Ali is seeking “full justice for the significant trauma, extreme humiliation, extreme embarrassment, severe emotional disturbances, and severe mental and physical suffering … due to the unconscionable activities and gross failures of Defendant Adeel and Defendant Facebook,” according to an article this week in The Wrap.

According to Atlenburn, Ali befriended Khan around five years ago, but the two never had a serious relationship.