Should we shoot the messenger?

by Paul Jay, CBCNews.ca

On Tuesday social networking site Facebook settled a lawsuit from an Indiana woman over text messages sent to her mobile phone after the initial recipient had given up the phone number.

Lindsey Abrams of Patriot, Ind., had claimed in her suit that she received text messages with explicit comments and other upsetting content - and had to pay 10 cents each time. The messages, she said in her claim, were intended for the person who previously owned the phone number. When the phone carrier "recycled" the number and gave it to her, the messages also came with it.

Facebook settled the suit, paying her legal fees, without admitting to any wrongdoing. As part of the agreement, Facebook said it would adopt new measures to prevent its members from sending text messages to recycled phone numbers and would work with mobile phone carriers to monitor lists of those numbers.

The settlement helps avoid another PR nightmare for Facebook, but it also begs the question: who is actually responsible for Ms. Abrams problem?

Is it the mobile phone carrier that sold her a recycled number? If the messages were part of a pattern of harassment, did the previous mobile phone customer have any obligation to inform either Facebook or the carrier of the problem? Or is this an issue that rightly landed on Facebook's doorstep?

Tell us what you think.