Facebook removes accounts with fake child-cancer posts

Facebook has deleted two accounts following a complaint from a mother of a three-year-old, whose stolen photos were being falsely used to claim he had cancer. According to a report in the BBC on Tuesday, the photographs of Jasper Allen were taken a year back when he had a bad case of chickenpox. The fake posts urged users to comment and like the photos, claiming that Facebook would donate money for surgery if users reacted.

The post garnered more than a million reactions. Sarah Allen, the mother, believes the photos were stolen from online news stories published about Allen’s chickenpox in August 2016. “We were warned people might take his pictures… because if you Google chickenpox his pictures are there,” Sarah said.

After her son’s photos were being circulated on Facebook, Sarah got calls from her friends asking if Allen really had cancer. Sarah repeatedly asked Facebook to take action and complained about copyright infringement. The Facebook on February 10 informed her that one of the accounts had been removed for breaching the site’s rules.

However, the account was restored within 24 hours. Following the pressure from the media, Facebook instructed its complaints team to revisit the case. The social networking site had initially only removed the posts featuring Allen, but later deleted the associated accounts.

 

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