Police in Limavady yesterday stepped in to close down a controversial Facebook page which described people as ‘gimps’, vowing they would not “tolerate cyber bullying”.
The page was set up a week ago and, prior to closure yesterday afternoon, it had more than 2,200 ‘likes’. It had posted 113 photos, all of which the page administrator told the ‘Journal’ had been sent to the page by friends of those pictured.
“Police asked the administrator of the Facebook page to take it down, which they did,” said a PSNI spokesperson.
Limavady PSNI stated on their Facebook page yesterday: “We are aware of a number of sites cropping up where Cyber bullying is taking place within the Limavady area. Today we have taken action to take down one of these Facebook sites and it is now closed.
“Cyber bullying will not be tolerated.”
Prior to being taken down, the creator of the controversial Facebook page defended its existence saying “it is not meant to offend anyone”, and “it’s there simply for a bit of fun between friends”.
The page showed, mostly, young people in various poses.
Each picture was given a caption. Anyone viewing the pictures were able to ‘like’ or post a comment about them.
Before it was taken down, the page administrator said: “I would rename the page but Facebook doesn’t have a function that enables me to do so.”
The page creator expressed surprise at how much attention the page had received and, speaking before yesterday’s developments, said five pictures had been removed.
“I set up the page just as I was bored and thought it’d give a few friends a laugh,” said the page administrator, saying he based it off another page that had been created in Derry.
Criticism had been levelled at the Limavady page with one post on the page stating: “There’s no point making a page dedicated to embarrassing people, which is exactly what this page does. Close the page down.”
Others had, however, commented in favour with one post staying: “Ur page is just a bit of craic nd we’re all having a wee giggle about the pics u put up cause we are all funtasic ppl that enjoy the bant... “ (Sic).
However, after learning of the page, Northern Ireland’s Commissioner for Children and Young People, Patricia Lewsley – Mooney said: “Keeping children and young people safe is one of NICCY’s key priorities and this includes keeping them safe while they are using technologies such as the internet. These technologies should not be about putting young people at risk.
“Bullying, in any form, is an ongoing concern for my office.
“Children and young people are entitled to use the internet, and the internet is about helping young people to learn and communicate with friends and family.
“Any online activity which seeks to offend or make fun of any child, damaging their self confidence and positive mental health cannot be condoned.”
The page administrator said, before the page being closed: “My page was for a laugh among friends. People have put up countless status’ praising the page in the days this page has been active.
“As for the fact it’s been raised to the commissioner, and to newspapers, well that just confused me as I didn’t think it was very controversial. To anyone that feels offended, I apologise on behalf of all of us that admin the page.”