A man has been found guilty of using a “bot” to spread misinformation about a Facebook user and a Facebook competitor.
In a verdict delivered today in Melbourne Magistrates Court, Judge David Gaudron said the man, who is not the person responsible for the online harassment, had acted recklessly and that his conduct had caused serious damage to the reputation of Facebook and Facebook competitor Facebook.
He said the guilty verdict was a “travesty” that could lead to imprisonment for Mr Steeves.
“It is a travesty that this individual could act recklessly, recklessly recklessly with such seriousness to the company he has so clearly harmed,” Judge Gaudart said.
“And this could lead not only to the destruction of the company, but potentially to imprisonment.”
The man, a 21-year-old male, used a website called TheFacebook.com to spread fake stories about Mr Steesons wife, a Facebook customer service agent, and his competitor, Facebook competitor My Facebook, which he claimed was selling a fake “social advertising” service to Facebook customers.
Judge Gaudar said Facebook and My Facebook were not selling any social advertising service to users.
“They were selling a service that is specifically designed to provide social advertising,” he said.
The judge said it was not an isolated case of the man using a bot to spread falsehoods about Facebook customers and competitors.
“This is not unique to this particular individual,” Judge Vlahos said.
In his evidence, the man said he had been targeted online by people who used the name “Ferguson” and a variety of fake Facebook accounts, but that he had not used the bot to threaten anyone.
He told the court the online attack began last September when a Facebook employee alerted him that his account had been suspended.
“He said it is a fake account and that they had suspended my account,” Mr Steedes said.
He went online to search for his account and found the page of a woman who claimed to be Ferguson.
“She had my phone number and she said it had been used to attack me,” he told the magistrate.
“I did not want to believe her, but I had to.”‘
I’m a big boy’: Woman who posted false claims on Facebook says she was bulliedWhen Mr Steedsons wife contacted Facebook to report the false posts, he said they told her it was a hoax and she should be careful about the messages.
“That was when the real story began to take shape,” he explained.
“My wife told me she was harassed by Facebook.”‘
It’s not like they’re taking the piss’: Facebook apologises after ‘Facebook bot’ spreads misinformation article Facebook has apologised for spreading misleading information about a woman after it said it would pay $4 million to settle claims it had wrongly labelled her as a fake.
The woman said she was the victim of a Facebook bot that spread misinformation that caused her to lose her job.
The company issued a public apology in October after The Daily Telegraph reported that the woman had been the target of the false information.
“We took a risk in the past when we put out misinformation about individuals, particularly women, but we’re embarrassed to have let that get the best of us again,” Facebook said in a statement.
“Today we’re proud to announce that we have settled this matter with her, and we’re paying $4.5 million to cover the costs associated with this matter.”
Ms Steecesons case comes amid a rise in internet bullying, with one in three women experiencing harassment online, according to a new study.
The study by the University of Melbourne found women were more likely to be targeted online, as well as those who were bullied by peers or family members.
A Facebook spokeswoman said the company had taken a “thorough and proactive” approach to addressing the issue.
“Our commitment to combating this type of behaviour is clear: we do everything we can to stop people from being bullied online, including using tools to alert them to a problem,” she said.
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