Hartford, CT – Facebook has removed pages related to the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting after concerns of exploitation were voiced to state representatives.
Senator Richard Blumenthal said about 100 “tribute pages” were created in the name of the Sandy Hook Elementary School first grade teacher Victoria Soto.
“Certainly there have been many, too many, of these pages that are intimidating or harassing or exploitive,” Blumenthal said.
There were also unauthorized appeals for donations to Soto’s family and to survivor Kaitlin Roig on some of the pages.
“A number of families contacted me about this issue and we’ve been in discussions with Facebook and finally sent this letter which, fortunately, they heeded,” Blumenthal said.
According to CBS, Senators Blumenthal and Chris Murphy, as well as Representative Elizabeth Etsy, sent a letter to Facebook which criticized the company for allowing pages that violated its own “community standards.”
“Their rules correctly prohibit exactly these kinds of invasive and exploitative pages,” said Blumenthal.
The “tribute pages” were designed to mislead and often appeared as if they had been set up by family members or friends.
San Jose Mercury News reported that Nouel Alba, a 37-year-old New York City woman, was recently accused of using her Facebook account to collect donations for what she referred to as a “funeral fund.” Allegedly, she told a donor that her nephew was a victim of the shooting and she had to identify his body, according to the criminal complaint. The woman is expected to face trial in March.
Blumenthal made sure to clarify that the group wasn’t asking for every Sandy Hook page to be removed, only the ones that were developed under false pretenses.
“Facebook needs to follow its own rules, and enforce those rules,” Blumenthal said.