Bullying fears back as Facebook’s ‘spotted’ page relaunched

Facebook page, "Spotted In Selkirk".

Facebook page, "Spotted In Selkirk".

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The ‘Spotted: Selkirk’ Facebook page has returned, with internet trolls insulting and bullying townsfolk again.

Nationwide ‘Spotted’ sites let what many call ‘cowards’ anonymously vent cruel gossip and sexual obscenities.

Last August we reported how Selkirk’s first ‘playground for bullies’ was deleted after alarmed Souters reported it to Facebook.

But now it appears the same, nameless founder has resurrected a second page, posting on January 3: “Ok folks, we are back! Much tamer and no feelings to be hurt ... much lol. Any photo’s [sic] to be ‘clean’ as in no nudity. Any names will be dotted out. So, lets [sic] have fun, anything to share? Party on!”

Despite ‘Spotted: Selkirk’s’ pleas, within the week the site had already attracted abusive posts. Names are ‘dotted out’ except the first letters, but Selkirk folk can easily fill in the blanks.

The crux is these unedited pages are impossible to monitor 24/7, with seemingly nothing to stop trolls posting possibly libellous or threatening comments.

Campbell Deane, a legal expert on publishing, said: “If an individual who posts material puts a recipient into fear and alarm, a criminal prosecution can ensue. If they make false and damaging allegations, they can be sued for libel.”

Despite ‘Spotted: Selkirk’s’ promises that “You will always remain anonymous”, Mr Deane added that Facebook ‘anonymity’ won’t save the person who posts the message, or the person who publishes it on the page.

He said: “If the comments are reported to the police, they will be able to get the names of those behind the posts.”

The Galashiels site was closed down after a post called a 12- year-old girl a “slut”, causing a backlash from disgusted users. However, it has started again for “advertising events and things going on in and around Galashiels”.

A public fightback previously led to the removal of Selkirk’s and St Boswells’ ‘Spotted’ pages.

Speculation is rife about who is behind the sites, and Souters are already wondering how long the ‘Spotted: Selkirk’ site will last before it is reported to Facebook or the police.

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