Facebook Sued Over Photos of Strangled Daughter
Being part of the Facebook generation is apparently not a requirement for venturing into inappropriate picture territory on the site.
At age 48, Mark Musarella posted a photo of Caroline Wimmer on his Facebook page. She was dead at the time, and he was the EMT sent to the scene.
Now Wimmer's parents are suing Facebook over that photo. Facebook vows to fight.
In 2009, Caroline Wimmer was strangled with a hair dryer by a man who believed she informed his girlfriend about his infidelity, reports CNN. When her parents found her body, they called 911.
Musarella arrived on the scene and took a photo of the body. The Wimmers were later notified by an acquaintance that the photo had been posted on Facebook, reports the Daily News.
It's not often that parents sue Facebook, but when they do, they usually want something more than the Wimmers do.
The lawsuit requests that the site turn over the image of Caroline Wimmer, information on who viewed the photo, and prevent future dissemination, notes CNN.
There is also a request for Facebook to cooperate with victims and their families in the future, reports the Daily News.
Just because parents sue Facebook for a noble purpose doesn't mean the company has to give in to any demands.
As CNN notes, the Communications Decency Act, which regulates obscene material on the Internet, does not apply to companies like Facebook. Moreover, a photo of a corpse may be offensive, but it's not obscene by most standards. A court will likely find it to be protected speech and outside the purview of the Act.
Instead of focusing on the Facebook lawsuit, people should instead focus on the punishment of Mark Musarella. To avoid prosecution, the Daily News reports he gave up his EMT license and agreed to 200 hours of community service. Somehow this doesn't seem like enough.
- Facebook Sued By Grieving Staten Island Parents (Village Voice)
- Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act (FindLaw)
- Obscenity (FindLaw)
- Ultimate Facebook Betrayal? Suspect in Fatal DUI Gets Nailed With Online Pics (FindLaw Blotter)