Facebook forced to reveal trolls' identities

Posted by Emma Woollacott

The British High Court is to force Facebook to hand over the IP addresses of dozens of internet trolls who falsely accused a woman of being a pedophile.

Nicola Brookes'  only 'crime' was to post a message showing support for a contestant on the X Factor game show. "Keep your chin up, Frankie, they'll move on to someone else soon," she said.

But unfortunately for Brookes, the trolls did exactly that. A barrage of abuse about her followed, with the trolls even setting up a fake profile page labelling her a pedophile and drug dealer, which was used to send explicit sexual messages to girls.

The trolls even published her address and a photograph of her daughter.

When an approach to the police failed to get anything done, Brookes launched legal action herself to force Facebook to hand over information that could help identify the trolls.

She says that, once their identities are revealed, she plans to launch private prosecutions against at least four of the people concerned.

She's highly critical of Facebook's reporting system, telling the Daily Telegraph that it 'doesn't work'.

"The abuse is absolutely horrendous and nothing can be done about it and nothing can be stopped. No one in authority is stepping in to say enough. I know that what I am doing is right," she says.

"It might take a while because I am not going to stop until these people are found, exposed and held accountable to what they have done."

The case is a first in the UK. Facebook says it will hand over the IP addresses when it receives the court order, which needs to be phyically delivered to the company's headquarters in the US.