Queensland Premier Anna Bligh has reportedly written to Facebook chief executive Mark Zuckerberg (pictured), appealing to the social networking supremo for help in blocking offensive material from being posted on memorial sites for Queensland girl Trinity Bates.
Bates’ body was found earlier this week after her parents woke to discover her missing, with the investigation ongoing.
Multiple media outlets have reported that Bligh, angered over obscene messages being posted on the tribute sites for Bates, and another boy also murdered, Elliott Fletcher, had appealed directly to Zuckerberg via a letter to the CEO in the US.
“Within the Queensland community, there are growing calls for a broader debate on the challenges posed by the new media … And on this front, I seek your advice on what action Facebook intends to take to prevent a recurrence of these types of sickening incidents,” Blight reportedly wrote.
Communications minister Stephen Conroy also questioned Facebook’s security practices last week. “I think there is a situation where people take Facebook with an enormous amount of trust and they’ve got to clearly explain what went wrong with their security systems, how this was able to happen (and) importantly, how they’re going to ensure that this doesn’t happen again,” News Ltd newspapers reported him as saying.
Facebook only maintains a small presence in Australia, led by regional vice president Paul Borrud, who, it is understood, mainly focuses on sales opportunities in the region. Facebook’s infrastructure is believed to be hosted overseas.
It’s not the first time Facebook has suffered a run-in with Australian authorities over material posted on the site during a criminal investigation.
In February 2009, Facebook users ignored a court order which banned the publication of information (including his photo) concerning a suspect accused of starting a fire which killed 11 people in the state. Several groups were set up on Facebook to identify the suspect, but subsequently taken down after police requests.
Image credit: Facebook