Rehtaeh Parsons, a 17-year-old girl, committed suicide in April, 2012, by hanging herself after allegedly being sexually assaulted by a group of male students for over a year. As if that’s not enough, her family has now been dealt a painful new blow after seeing their daughter’s face used to advertise a dating website on Facebook.
CBC News reports that Rehtaeh’s photo was banned by Facebook after they discovered that a company was using an old photo of her to advertise a dating website. The ad was spotted by Rob Russell, who was checking his own account when he saw the photo and connected it to last year’s news story about Rehtaeh. According to Russell, “Immediately I thought, 'Wow, somebody must not know whose picture they're using here.'"
Rehtaeh’s family is of course completely outraged with the company who posted their daughter’s photo without permission. Her father, Glen Canning, found out about the ad when someone sent it to him via a link in an email. He told CBC, "It’s disgusting. 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. Not only that, she's also a minor.”
Facebook says that the company, ionechat.com, severely violated their advertising policies, and that they will never be allowed to advertise with them again. According to a statement from a Facebook spokesperson, "This is an extremely unfortunate example of an advertiser scraping an image and using it in their ad campaign. We apologize for any harm this has caused."
Not content with that, Glen Canning says he won’t rest until he finds out exactly how the photo came into the company’s possession, “In my heart, it's just inexcusable,” the pained father said, adding, “There's just no way I would accept an excuse that this was just some kind of a glitch."