A Myrtle Beach, South Carolina mother was shocked to discover a stranger using photos of her seven-year old daughter in a Facebook profile. Lindsey Mills, best known in the Horry County area for her unique wedding photography, reported the profile to Facebook. But even though the profile was removed, others soon appeared.
According to an interview with SCNow, Mills received a message from the impersonator claiming to be a “12-year old girl” who is a “big fan” of Mills’ daughter. Mills visited the impersonator’s profile, and was disturbed to find photos of her 7-year old daughter that Mills had displayed on her Facebook Page and website to promote her photography business. Mills promptly reported the incident to both the police and Facebook, and the profile was removed from the website.
Soon after Facebook removed the profile, Mills found another profile featuring a photo of her daughter alongside other photos of JonBenet Ramsey, the infamous six-year old beauty queen who was brutally murdered in 1996. Besides photographs, the profile displayed JonBenet’s autopsy report, and covers from books about the still-unsolved case.
Understandably, Lindsey Mills fears for her daughter’s safety. While imitation may be the sincerest form of flattery, Mills fears the yet-unknown impersonator may be a sexual predator, waiting for the right time to strike. When photographing weddings, Mills cannot help but wonder if her daughter will live to see her own wedding. She hopes “this person isn’t crazy and doesn’t come and kill [her] child.”
Mills’ website and Facebook page both prominently display photographs of young children. Most people agree that children must be protected online, but most parents still post photographs of their children on Facebook. Shouldn’t parents rethink sharing photos this way?