Rehtaeh Parsons: Dead Girl's Photo Used in Facebook Dating Site Ad

Thursday, 19 Sep 2013 10:18 AM

By Alexandra Ward

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The family of Rehtaeh Parsons, a 17-year-old Canadian girl who died in April, is outraged after a dating website used her photo for a Facebook ad urging users to "Find love in Canada!"

Parsons was taken off life support in April following a suicide attempt. Her parents said the teen was sexually assaulted at 15 and bullied relentlessly afterwards.

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They were alerted to the dating ad by several local people who spotted Parsons' picture on their Facebook sidebars.

"For something like that to happen to Rehtaeh, given the circumstances of her death and the grief we've gone through, it was pretty disturbing and disgusting to see something like that," Glen Canning, Parsons' father, told The Canadian Press on Wednesday. "It's our image. It belongs to Rehtaeh's family. Just to lift it off and start using it like that is very thoughtless."


"What a thing for a parent to see," he continued. "Especially because Rehtaeh is the victim of a sexual assault and they have her on a dating website. Not only that, she's also a minor. What does that say?"

On Wednesday, Facebook apologized for the mishap and announced it had terminated its relationship with advertiser Ionechat.com, which runs the dating site.

"This is an extremely unfortunate example of an advertiser scraping an image and using it in their ad campaign," a Facebook spokesperson wrote in a statement, calling the incident a gross violation of their advertising policies. "We apologize for any harm this has caused."

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Related stories:

Police: Man Killed Wife, Posted Photo of Body on Facebook

Jackie Chan Responds Lightheartedly to Rumors of Death

Obama Struggles With Releasing bin Laden Death Photos  

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