Facebook is no stranger to dealing with litigation from its users. However, users rarely win these cases. That’s why the recent settlement between the social media giant and a teenage girl in Ireland is so monumental.
The case began when nude photos of the girl were allegedly posted on a “shame” Facebook page several times between November 2014 and January 2016. The girl sued both Facebook and the man suspected of posting the photos, alleging that the pictures were blackmailed from her and then posted as revenge porn. She sought damages for the “misuse of private information, negligence, and breach of the Data Protection Act.” Her legal counsel even likened the posting of her private photos to a form of child abuse.
Facebook said that it took down the images immediately after they were reported, but that evidently wasn’t enough to satisfy the Irish court. So Facebook reached a confidential resolution with the girl that will include the company paying for all of her legal costs.
While this isn’t technically a win for the girl, it marks a big shift in how the company usually handles cases like this. Facebook rarely settles in court, and rarely assumes responsibility for the actions its users take. It’s a genuinely surprising decision, and hopefully it leads to more user-friendly settlements in the future.