The Financial Times is reporting that “a British businessman has been awarded Â£22,000 ($44,000) in damages from a Cformer school friend who created a fake profile of him on the website.” The defendant had been sued by Mathew Firsht, the victim of a libelous act. According to the Financial Times, a group had been created called “Has Mathew Firsht lied to you?” in addition to a profile which contained “false claims about his sexuality, religion and political views.”
Creating false profiles of other people on Facebook has been a normal thing since the launch of the site four years ago. Users may want to think twice from now on since doing so could result in a pretty large fine. In this case it appears that the victim actually knew the defendant prior to the case being filed. In fact they were actually friends at one point. For those that are unaware of the people creating the profiles, having the identity of an offender revealed would require a court order.
Last year there was an entertaining video posted on College Humor about the creation of fake profiles resulting in a war between friends. While this is a joke video, fake profiles on Facebook are routine but this new suit sets the ground for future lawsuits. We could soon see libel cases sweeping through courts as users try to protect their own online identities.