Prisoner Facebook taunts spur UK action

LONDON: Britain has secured the removal of 30 Facebook pages used by prisoners after reports that they were being used to taunt victims, Justice Secretary Jack Straw said today.

Straw told the BBC that he approached the social networking site three weeks ago to address the issue and asked that the pages be removed within 48 hours.

“We’ve made requests for the removal of 30 sites and they’ve responded to do that positively, with no single refusal, within 48 hours, so we just want to push this forward,” he told the broadcaster.

Straw was talking after meeting families who claimed their loved ones’ killers were taunting them via the Internet.

A man who murdered a 16-year-old boy in London reportedly wrote on Facebook that he was “down but not out” and added that he wanted a remote control so he could “mute or delete people when I need to.” On another page, a prisoner boasted that he would be home one day “and I can’t wait to look into certain people’s eyes and see the fear of me being there,” according to media reports.

“We will continue to work with Facebook to ensure such material is removed whenever we find it or whenever it is drawn to our attention,” a Ministry of Justice spokesman said.

“We recognise it is deeply distressing for victims and their families and friends and we have made it clear to Facebook that we do not think it acceptable or appropriate for such profiles to remain active, something Facebook agrees with.” Last month, an on-the-run British convict who tormented police on Facebook for four months was sentenced to extra time behind bars.

Craig “Lazie” Lynch, who was serving seven years for aggravated burglary, escaped in September and posted a string of defiant status updates and pictures on Facebook before being recaptured.