Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Let's face it

Be careful what you do on the Internet.

Peeps are watching! :P

Man sues old schoolfriend for libel after he made 'fake' entries on Facebook


Mathew Firsht claims his ex-friend Grant Raphael placed a damaging false profile on the Facebook social networking website

A company boss whose personal details were displayed on Facebook under a fake entry yesterday launched a landmark High Court claim for damages.

A false profile of Mathew Firsht was entered on the social networking website with his name and date of birth, incorrectly stating he was signed up to gay groups.
It also falsely claimed he was 'Looking for whatever I can get' in terms of a relationship and had lied to avoid repaying loans.

Mr Firsht is suing old schoolfriend Grant Raphael for libel and misuse of private information in what is believed to be the first defamation case involving Facebook in the UK.
He claims Mr Raphael, a cameraman, created the profile and a link on the site called 'Has Mathew Firsht lied to you?' from a computer at his flat after they fell out.

Mr Firsht's lawyer Lorna Skinner told the hearing in London that the private information covered his whereabouts, activities, birthday and relationship status.
It also falsely indicated his sexual orientation and political views.
The profile said he was signed up to groups on the site, including 'Gay in the Wood... Borehamwood' and 'Gay Jews in London'.

Mr Firsht said he was defamed by other claims that he owed large sums of money which he had repeatedly avoided paying by lying.

There were also false claims that he and his showbusiness company were not to be trusted and were a serious credit risk.

The profiles were on the internet for 16 days before Mr Firsht's brother spotted them and they were removed by Facebook staff.

Mr Raphael, of Hampstead, North-West London, denies liability.

He said strangers who attended a party at his home sneaked off to a spare bedroom to create the fake profile on his computer last June.

But Miss Skinner said his case was 'simply not tenable' and claimed he was a 'self-confessed Facebook enthusiast'.

Her client believes that Mr Raphael 'has borne a grudge since they fell out in 2000'.

She added: 'The defendant knew all the information in the profiles, and only a very limited number of people would.'

Miss Skinner said: 'Mr Firsht values his privacy highly. It was the gross invasion of his privacy, namely having his personal details, including false details concerning his sexuality, laid bare for all to see that caused him the most distress.'

Mr Firsht's company Applause Store Productions finds audiences for TV and radio shows, and provides warm-up services for live shows including Big Brother.
Facebook became a world-wide phenomenon in 2006 and is the seventh most popular site on the internet.

Last month, it attracted 129.3million visitors.

MPs have raised concerns that it could fuel bullying by allowing insults to be traded anonymously.

Some members said they have received hate mail and death threats.

Others reported being sent insults and comments about their weight, looks and sex lives.

The case continues.