Bid to reveal 'Facebook flags threats' ID

Bid to reveal 'Facebook flags threats' ID

Legal attempts will be made to discover the identity of those who allegedly threatened a Catholic man on Facebook pages linked to loyalist flag protests, the High Court has heard.

A judge was told his lawyers want information about people who posted and operated the content on the social networking giant.

Facebook removed two pages last week after the man's legal team secured a court order.

The pages, Loyalists against Short Strand, and Loyalist Peaceful Protests Updater, had provided information on street protests being held across Northern Ireland.

Demonstrations have continued for eight weeks since the decision to restrict the flying of the union flag at Belfast City Hall.

More than 100 police officers have been injured in rioting which has erupted after the protests.

The man allegedly targeted on the pages, referred to only as J18 in High Court proceedings, was granted an emergency injunction against Facebook due to the perceived gravity of the threat.

With the pages now taken down, the judge who made the order was given an update on the case on Monday.

Mr Justice Deeny told both sides he had granted the application because of the circumstances outlined to him.

"There was an imminent risk of serious injury," he said.

According to Peter Hopkins, for Facebook Ireland Ltd, the pages' suspension has taken the urgency out of the case.

But he reserved his client's position on whether the final remedy should be shutdown of the entire pages or just removal of the offending content.

Referring to the plaintiff's position, Mr Hopkins added: "I understand my friend wishes to seek discovery of certain information in relation to those users who posted content and operated the pages.

"Indeed Facebook takes the view those are the persons where the primary responsibility should rest."

It is the second time the social media operator has come before the High Court in the last two months.

In November, a convicted child sex offender won a landmark case forcing Facebook to take down a page monitoring paedophiles in Northern Ireland.

He is now seeking damages in an action due to be heard in March.

Mr Justice Deeny confirmed that J18's case will also now be transferred over to the judge handling those proceedings.


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