In what was—hands down—one of the most distasteful ad campaigns ever to grace the pages of Facebook, an online dating site promoted its services using photographs of the late Rehtaeh Parsons under the headline "Find Love in Canada!"
According to an article in the Huffington Post, a Toronto-based man Andrew Ennals discovered images of the 17-year-old teen who committed suicide earlier this year. Rehtaeh was allegedly cyberbullied following a sexual assault, in a case for which two Halifax teens have now been charged.
Ennals had to double-take when he saw the photos; he couldn't believe her image was being used to advertise a dating site.
"Then I was just horrified," Ennals said. "I think Facebook needs to remove it, of course, but it also I think shows some of the flaws with their algorithm for drawing in images," he said. "I can't imagine that any company would do this on purpose."
While Facebook has since recognized the violation of its policies, and locked the account of the dating site, ionechat.com (which then led Canadian users to the calledbe2 site), the damage has been done.
Though the companies may have unwittingly used the image, which could have been scraped from anywhere on the web, the fact that it happened at all has revealed some major cracks in the social media engine. The HuffPost also references a Facebook page called "Lac-Megantic Train Disaster Was Hilarious" on its site, and who can forget this disgusting page?
FB, it's high time you cleaned up your act. Would such offensive and sloppy content persuade you to stop using the site?