Rehtaeh Parsons photo used in Facebook dating ad
Facebook blocks company forever after receiving complaints
Facebook has banned a company from advertising on its website after an image of Rehtaeh Parsons was used to advertise a dating website.
The ad was spotted by Rob Russell, who works in Toronto, when it popped up while he was checking his account.
"Immediately I thought, 'Wow, somebody must not know whose picture they're using here,'" he said.
"I'm looking at this and I'm thinking, 'How sick is that?'" said the late teen's father, Glen Canning.
Parsons died in April after a suicide attempt at the age of 17. Her parents said she was sexually assaulted when she was 15 years old and then bullied relentlessly for more than a year.
Canning found out about the advertisement Tuesday night when someone sent him a link in an email.
"I'm literally just speechless over this. This is just disgusting," he said.
Facebook said the company, ionechat.com, will never be allowed to advertise with them again.
"This is an extremely unfortunate example of an advertiser scraping an image and using it in their ad campaign," a spokesperson from Facebook wrote in a statement, calling this a gross violation of their advertising policies. "We apologize for any harm this has caused."
Canning said blocking the company was the only acceptable response.
"What a thing for a parent to see. Especially because Rehtaeh is the victim of a sexual assault and they have her on a dating website," he said. "Not only that, she's also a minor. What does that say?"
Canning said he is going to try to figure out how his daughter's image ended up on the advertisement.
"In my heart, it's just inexcusable," he said. "There's just no way I would accept an excuse that this was just some kind of a glitch."
Parsons's story of cyberbullying made headlines around the world. Last week, her mother appeared on the Dr. Phil Show to talk about what happened.
Meanwhile, a spokesperson from Facebook encouraged people to report other advertisements if they have concerns.
With files from Richard Cuthbertson.