Prisoner Facebook pages wiped after victim abuse

LONDON Thu Feb 11, 2010 9:53am EST

Mark Zuckerberg, founder and CEO of Facebook, delivers a keynote address at the company's annual conference in San Francisco, July 23, 2008. REUTERS/Kimberly White

Mark Zuckerberg, founder and CEO of Facebook, delivers a keynote address at the company's annual conference in San Francisco, July 23, 2008.

Credit: Reuters/Kimberly White

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LONDON (Reuters) - Facebook has agreed to remove 30 pages from its social networking site after prisoners used them to taunt their victims, British Justice Minister Jack Straw said on Thursday.

Straw has met representatives from Facebook and communications regulator Ofcom, as well as members of victims' families to discuss prisoner access to social networking sites.

"The abuse of social networking sites by prisoners is offensive to public morality and decency," Straw said in a statement.

"I am deeply concerned about the distress which the abuse of social networking sites causes to families who have lost a loved one through murder as well as for other crime victims."

The move follows media reports of several cases in which prisoners used smuggled mobile phones to post boastful or threatening messages online.

Visitors to all prisons in England and Wales are scanned to detect mobile phones.

Straw said the progress made so far in tackling such victim harassment was encouraging, and other ways of preventing it were being looked out, including imposing conditions on accessing social networking sites for prisoners when they are released.

(Reporting by Kylie MacLellan; Editing by Steve Addison)

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