Hate posts on Meagher Facebook sites, as march attracts thousands
Social media giant Facebook is yet to shut down sites inciting hatred and violence against the man charged with the murder of Melbourne woman Jill Meagher as thousands march in tribute.
SOCIAL media giant Facebook is yet to shut down sites inciting hatred and violence against the man charged with the murder of Melbourne woman Jill Meagher.
Victoria Police has asked Facebook to cancel about six sites but Deputy Commissioner Tim Cartwright says the social media network operator has declined.
“(It’s) pretty disappointing, some of those sites are inciting hatred and really quite disgusting in the sorts of messages they’re portraying,” Mr Cartwright told reporters on Monday.
“The fact is a man’s been arrested, we have a good, fair legal process in this state, we need to let it run the course.”
Facebook said it was working with Victorian police and was committed to acting quickly to remove or restrict content if it violated the company’s policies or the law.
“We take our statement of rights and responsibilities very seriously and react quickly to remove reported content that violates our policies and also to restrict access to content in a country, where we are advised that it violates local law,” a Facebook statement said.
“While we do not comment on individual requests or cases, we can confirm that we are still in contact with the local law enforcement in Victoria.”
Mr Cartwright said some of the comments posted were “pretty vile”, and there was a risk posting such material in the public domain could affect the trial of the accused.
“At the very least they’re trying to incite hatred and violence.”
A Facebook page was set up to help find Irish-born Ms Meagher after she disappeared in the early hours of September 22 and several tribute pages were established after the 29-year-old’s body was found and a suspect charged early on Friday morning.
A number of hate pages directed at the suspect have also been set up, with one attracting 44,000 likes.
Both Ms Meagher’s grieving family and Victoria Police have acknowledged the role social media played in the search for the ABC radio employee, but police on Friday issued a call for calm, asking people to refrain from posting “inappropriate comments that might jeopardise a successful prosecution”.
Chief Commissioner Ken Lay said police were working through their options following Facebook’s refusal to remove the sites.
“It is disappointing, and when you see the hatred that’s incited by some of these sites, it is very much the antithesis of what we saw yesterday with 30,000 people taking to the streets saying `let’s try and make this a safer and fairer community’,” he told Fairfax Radio on Monday.
“We’ve all got a social responsibility and Facebook is part of our community, and I would’ve thought it would only have been reasonable.”
Adrian Ernest Bayley, 41, of Coburg, has been charged with Ms Meagher’s rape and murder. He is in custody awaiting a committal mention hearing on January 18.
A news report on Monday suggested Bayley is being moved to higher security in jail amid fears he will be attacked by other inmates.
A Corrections Victoria spokesman said it does not comment on individual inmates.
A different expression of grief was on display yesterday, when a city united in a peace march to honour Jill Megher. Following a call on social media on Friday for a march along Sydney Road, past the bridal shop that has become somewhat of a memorial to this young Irish woman, thousands came from across town to join the tribute.
Police set the number at 30,000 as the busy Sydney Road thoroughfare was closed to traffic for more than an hour. Premier Ted Baillieu has said it was a show of strength against violence.
“I think it’s an enormously powerful statement but in many ways I’m not surprised, because I think Victorians are very, very keen for a change of culture in regard to violence and particularly violence against women,” Mr Baillieu told ABC radio on Monday.
“To that extent, I think many Victorians would’ve come from all over the place to join that otherwise spontaneous gathering.”
The public outpouring has continued with a mystery artist creating a large graffiti mural paying tribute to Ms Meagher in a city laneway.
The mural in Hosier Lane reads “Rest in Peace Jill”. – AAP