Jul 30, 2014
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Pols Pressuring Facebook to Pull Some Tribute Pages

Sens. Chris Murphy and Richard Blumenthal and Rep. Elizabeth Esty have expressed concern about potentially harmful Facebook "tribute" pages to Sandy Hook victims.

Pols Pressuring Facebook to Pull Some Tribute Pages


State officials are concerned that some Facebook "tribute" pages could be harmful to victims and their families -- and possibly even defrauding well-meaning contributors. 

State Attorney General George Jepsen says he and his office have been meeting with Facebook staff to solve the problem.

"I appreciate Facebook’s responsiveness, and I have emphasized to Facebook that it must be sensitive to the concerns of the Newtown families," said Jepsen in a statement Monday afternoon. He said Facebook is already working to remove content that "harass[es] or intimidate[s] the victims or their families and have no legitimate reason to remain on the site," and that he expects Facebook will do the same for illegitimate tribute pages.

The furor emerged after a story published in Greenwich Time Friday, in which Donna Soto — Victoria Soto's mother — expressed concern about the growing number of tribute pages in her name. Victoria Soto was one of the . (Her mother was not specifically referring to fraudulent pages.)

"I know Vicki better than most and she would hate this," Donna Soto told the Greenwich Time.

In an open letter to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg Monday morning, Newtown's three federal representatives — Sens. Chris Murphy and Richard Blumenthal and Rep. Elizabeth Esty — outlined Facebook's terms of use and asked the social media site's staff to act.

The lawmakers gave an example of more than 100 tribute pages created "using Victoria Soto's name or likeness," and said they had received complaints from both Donna Soto and from survivor Kaitlin Roig, who saved children's lives by hiding them in a bathroom during the shooting.

"We ask that you direct your staff to remove the pages referred to in complaints by Donna Soto and Kaitlin Roig down for violating the above terms of service," wrote Murphy, Blumenthal and Esty in the letter, published by the Hartford Courant. "If you do not believe these pages violate your terms of service, please detail in a written response why. If Facebook is already looking into this matter, please detail what you have done thus far to address the take-down requests from of Donna Soto and Kaitlin Roig."

Alleged attempts to capitalize on the Sandy Hook School shooting through online scams began just days after the tragedy. On Dec. 27, a 37-year-old Bronx woman was arrested on allegations that she used Facebook to pretend to be a relative of a shooting victim.

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