Facebook may come under fire soon in an Italian case where a 14 year old committed suicide over taunts posted on Facebook.
Carolina Picchio of Novara Italy jumped from a window to her death after a series of events that are being treated as a bullying case. After Picchio broke up with her boyfriend, an unknown user went to Facebook and posted a video of her drunk and disoriented at a party, which apparently prompted more tormenting, leading to the suicide.
The police are investigating eight boys for the bullying incidents, but the Italian Parents’ Association has taken action itself, filing a criminal complaint against Facebook:
“This is the first time a parent’s group has filed such a complaint against Facebook in Europe,” said director Antonio Affinita. “Italian law forbids minors under 18 signing contracts, yet Facebook is effectively entering into a contract with minors regarding their privacy, without their parents knowing.”
It is not clear whether Ms. Picchio or someone else asked Facebook to take the comments, but that is not what is at issue with the parents’ group complaint. In the United States under the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA), a 13 year old is deemed of sufficient age to agree to the terms and conditions of a social media site. No such law exists in Italy. Facebook could be in trouble in Italy, and possibly other countries, if they are not permitted to allow teens to join.
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