AFP denies Facebook tribute crackdown


The Australian Federal Police has denied reports that it was seeking to block minors from creating tribute pages on Facebook to friends who have passed away in an untimely manner.

On Saturday the Australian newspaper reported that the AFP was negotiating with Facebook to prevent people defacing the internet memorial sites, and wanted to ban under-18s from setting up the sites in general.

The issue has come to the fore over the past six months due to offensive material being posted on Facebook memorial sites of departed Australians such as Queensland girl Trinity Bates. But in a statement issued yesterday, the AFP said the Australian had got the story wrong.

“The article states: ‘The AFP has, in an effort to improve accountability, raised with Facebook the possibility of banning under-18s from setting up such sites’,” said the AFP.

“The AFP wish to clarify that at no time has it raised this issue with representatives from Facebook, nor has it ever suggested that this would be an effective strategy in dealing with misuse of online social networking sites.”

The AFP said its High Tech Crime Operations Team continued to work in partnership with Facebook, which it described as “receptive to approaches from law enforcement agencies”.

The news comes as Facebook has in the past been accused of not cooperating with Australian law enforcement on investigations. Although the company does have a liaison officer who handles Australian enquiries, that staffer has been reported to be based in the US.

Image credit: Nobihaya, Creative Commons