Healy O'Connor

Facebook Defamation Cases

The popular social networking website Facebook has agreed to take down alleged fake profiles of millionaire businessman JP McManus pending the outcome of a full legal action by him over those profiles, the High Court heard yesterday.

Given that undertaking, injunction proceedings by Mr McManus (60) over the disputed profiles did not proceed yesterday and were struck out.

The full action by Mr McManus against Facebook for alleged breach of privacy will be heard later at a date yet to be fixed.

On Friday, Mr McManus’s lawyers got High Court permission to serve notice of the injunction proceedings against Facebook, and the matter came before Mr Justice Roderick Murphy yesterday.

The court was told on Friday representatives of Mr McManus had asked that three user profiles, falsely claiming to be of him, be taken down, but this was not successful.

Yesterday, Paul Gallagher, for Mr McManus, said lawyers for Facebook were prepared to give an undertaking that the pages and profiles would remain fully disabled pending the trial of the action. The pages had already been taken down, counsel said.

Cian Ferriter, for Facebook, said his client’s solicitors had written a letter to Mr McManus’s lawyers setting out the undertaking, and this offer was “strictly without prejudice”.

Mr Justice Murphy struck out the injunction application and adjourned the matter for mention to Thursday, when directions in relation to the main proceedings will be sought.

In his proceedings, Mr McManus wants declarations that failure to remove the profiles involves an unlawful breach of his right to privacy under the Constitution and the 1988 Data Protection Act.

He is also seeking damages for defamation, malicious falsehood, fraudulent misrepresentation and negligence.


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