Frankly, just who the hell do Facebook think they are? (Updated – see comments.)

Posted: October 1, 2012 in Political musings, Popular Culture et al

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Not much, sometimes, really.

Melbourne has been rocked by the abduction, rape and murder of ABC journalist Jill Meagher. Spontaneous outpourings of support and grief have been remarkable in their fervour.

Now, though, social media giant Facebook is apparently refusing to shut down sites inciting hatred and violence against the man charged with her murder. Who was, the last time Wellthisiswhatithink looked, still innocent until proven guilty.

Victoria Police has asked Facebook to cancel about six sites but Deputy Commissioner Tim Cartwright says the social media network operator has declined.

Friend Helen Mead with Thomas Meagher and Jill Meagher in happier times.

“(It’s) pretty disappointing, some of those sites are inciting hatred and really quite disgusting in the sorts of messages they’re portraying,” Mr Cartwright told reporters on Monday.

“The fact is a man’s been arrested, we have a good, fair legal process in this state, we need to let it run the course.”

Mr Cartwright said some of the comments posted were “pretty vile”, and there was a risk posting such material in the public domain could affect the trial of the accused.

“At the very least they’re trying to incite hatred and violence.”

A Facebook page was set up to help find Irish-born Ms Meagher after she disappeared in the early hours of September 22 and several tribute pages were established after the 29-year-old’s body was found and a suspect charged early on Friday morning.

A number of hate pages directed at the suspect have also been set up, with one attracting 44,000 likes. Ms Meagher’s husband also appealed for people to be cautious in what they post, in case the defence could argue that the accused could not get a fair trial – given Facebook’s ubiquity, that would presumably mean anywhere in Australia.

Both Ms Meagher’s grieving family and Victoria Police have acknowledged the role social media played in the search for the ABC radio employee, but police on Friday issued a call for calm, asking people to refrain from posting “inappropriate comments that might jeopardise a successful prosecution”.

Chief Commissioner Ken Lay said police were working through their options following Facebook’s refusal to remove the sites.

“It is disappointing, and when you see the hatred that’s incited by some of these sites, it is very much the antithesis of what we saw yesterday with 30,000 people taking to the streets saying ‘let’s try and make this a safer and fairer community’,” he told Fairfax Radio on Monday.

“We’ve all got a social responsibility and Facebook is part of our community, and I would’ve thought it would only have been reasonable.”

Adrian Ernest Bayley, 41, of Coburg, has been charged with Ms Meagher’s rape and murder. He is in custody awaiting a committal mention hearing on January 18.

A news report on Monday also suggested Bayley is being moved to higher security in jail amid fears he will be attacked by other inmates.

A Corrections Victoria spokesman said it does not comment on individual inmates.

(Mostly sourced from Yahoo. According to them, comment has been sought from Facebook but not received at time of publication. We will update the story if appropriate.)

  1. Fare ye well … Gillian (Jill) Meagher

    I only knew you for 5 days
    Tis but a blinking of an eye
    Who is the lady behind that smile
    Your beautiful image made me cry

    On news you’d vanished without trace
    From what we’d call a safe street
    All of Melbourne united to find you
    Through mouse click or on our feet

    My wife being Irish … close to home
    For I know their gentle touch
    The big heart always willing to help
    We’ll all miss you very much

    To someone else’s tune we dance
    When it’s our time to leave
    Those left behind must find the strength
    Hold on to faith and their belief

    Jill dances with the angels now
    Not hindered by time or space
    The problems of our World left behind
    The future for us all to face

    Goodbye Jill our Irish lass
    May yer fields be green, sky forever blue
    All of Melbourne is richer today
    Because we’ve been touched by you

    Our hearts go out to Tom and family
    For the pain that they must feel
    We send our love and understanding
    Pray that with time they may heal

    I have one simple request right now
    To the angels by your side
    May they take good care of you
    For you carry Melbourne’s pride

    Poetry by Jovo Cirkovic


  2. Simon Ondaatje says:

    Insensitive post Yolly


    • Why? Don’t you think if the police want the sites taken down so as not to threaten the trial that they should be?



      Social-media giant Facebook has finally removed several hate pages targeting the 41-year-old Melbourne man accused of raping and killing ABC radio employee Jill Meagher.

      Police say the sites were removed by the US-based company after days of repeated requests from Victorian authorities.

      “A number of sites have been taken down on our request, and we thank Facebook for that,” a police spokeswoman told AAP on Wednesday.

      Victoria Police had earlier feared vile content posted on six Facebook pages could jeopardise the man’s right to a fair trial.

      One site had more than 44,000 likes and included posts that incited violence and shared details about the man’s background.

      But Facebook failed to quickly act on those police concerns.


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