Facebook takes (small) step against tribute page trolls

Posted by Emma Woollacott

Facebook has contacted all Australian page administrators to remind them how to moderate objectionable content, after a spate of trolling on tribute sites.

In February, eight-year-old Trinity Bates was kidnapped and murdered. But trolls splattered the tribute pages set up in her memory with obscene messages, pictures and videos.

Queensland premier Anna Bligh reportedly wrote to Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg appealing for help in blocking such material. The letter comes in response to her plea.

"We... saw that Australians rallied around the tragic events surrounding the deaths of Elliot Fletcher and Trinity Bates," says the letter.

"In response to these tragedies, people created Facebook Pages as tributes to these young children. Unfortunately, a few individuals demonstrated a complete lack of respect towards the families and friends of Trinity and Elliot, and added inappropriate content to these Pages."

The letter tells administrators how to restrict permissions, remove content from a page or ban individual fans.

Similar attacks are being made on tribute pages elsewhere with incresing frequency. Last week, the page commemorating Alice Worthington, a British car crash victim, was attacked.

In the US, meanwhile, formspringme.com memorial pages for suicide victim Alexis Pilkington were filled with offensive messages.