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Newtown Pages on Facebook Will be Removed for ‘Harassment’

By Jack Phillips
Epoch Times Staff
Created: February 25, 2013 Last Updated: February 25, 2013
Related articles: United States » Northeast
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Newtown pages on Facebook: Dozens of pages that memorialize victims of the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre in Newtown, Connecticut, will be taken down by Facebook.

A screenshot of one of the many tribute pages to slain Sandy Hook teacher Victoria Soto. (Screenshot taken by The Epoch Times)

A screenshot of one of the many tribute pages to slain Sandy Hook teacher Victoria Soto. (Screenshot taken by The Epoch Times)

Facebook said Monday it would remove potentially hundreds of so-called tribute pages to victims of the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre in Connecticut over fears they are being used to harass or exploit the tragedy.

Several U.S lawmakers sent a letter to Facebook chief executive Mark Zuckerberg asking the company to remove the pages, many of which were used as a type of memorial to the Sandy Hook victims who died on Dec. 14.

However, over the past several months, these pages have become “vehicles for harassment and potentially fraud,” said Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D.-Conn.) in a statement published on his website. He cited “hundreds of unofficial pages” dedicated to the nearly two dozen Newtown victims, including more than 100 tribute pages made just for slain teacher Victoria Soto.

Blumenthal told The Associated Press on Monday that Facebook agreed with the lawmakers’ request to take the pages down.

Facebook community standards stipulate that users should refrain from posting personal information about others without their consent.

“We ask that you direct your staff to remove the pages referred to in complaints by Donna Soto and Kaitlin Roig down for violating the above terms of service,” reads the letter, which was also signed by Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) and Rep. Elizabeth Esty (D-Conn.).

It added: “It has come to our attention that Facebook has received multiple requests from grieving Newtown families to remove Facebook pages being used to harass them or to exploit their loss,” reads the letter.

Some of the victims’ Facebook pages contain messages about conspiracy theories, including one that posits that the victims were just actors so that the U.S. government can push for stricter gun control regulations. 

The letter said, “Pages providing platforms for people to violate the privacy of families as they grieve, or seek financial gain through soliciting donations under false pretenses, or generating Facebook ‘likes’ for marketing purposes, should not be given quarter in the Facebook community.”

On one page called “R.I.P. Victoria Soto,” which has more than 4,800 “likes,” there are numerous comments on threads that are just advertising for various products.

“Today is my 8th day being on the program and I am 11lbs down!!:)” one of the comments reads, while listing a website for a weight-loss product.

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