Facebook Mess: Dead Teen's Photos Used in Dating Ads

Images of Rehtaeh Parsons appeared in ads for 'love in Canada!'

By Kate Seamons,  Newser Staff

Posted Sep 18, 2013 7:09 AM CDT

(Newser) – As far as cringe-worthy moves go, it's tough to imagine one that's worse than this: Two ads urging Facebook users to "Find Love in Canada!" were each paired with a photo of Rehtaeh Parsons—the Canadian 17-year-old who hanged herself in April after a photo of her alleged sexual assault was circulated online. The ad was for a site called ionechat.com, whose account Facebook immediately deleted. "This is an extremely unfortunate example of an advertiser scraping an image from the Internet and using it in their ad campaign," Facebook told the Toronto Star. The BBC notes the dating site is no longer live, and Canada.com traces it to a European parent company.

In the Star's telling, Toronto copy writer Andrew Ennals spotted the ad yesterday afternoon and thought it looked like Rehtaeh. He verified that via a Google search, then posted a screenshot of the ad on Twitter ... and then posted a screenshot of a second ad that used a different photo of Rehtaeh. Within two hours, the ads were down—unfortunately, not before Rehtaeh's father saw them: "I am completely bewildered and disgusted by this. ... I don't even know what to say," Glen Canning wrote on his blog. Meanwhile, the two teens who were arrested on child pornography charges in connection with the case are set to enter pleas tomorrow.

One of the ads.
One of the ads.   (@andrewennals)
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