UK: Judge set to rule in Facebook libel case

A judgment is expected today in a damages action brought by a businessman who claimed his personal details were “laid bare” on the Facebook social networking website.

A judgment is expected today in a damages action brought by a businessman who claimed his personal details were “laid bare” on the Facebook social networking website.

Mathew Firsht, managing director of Applause Store Productions Ltd, is suing an old schoolfriend, freelance cameraman Grant Raphael, at the High Court for libel and misuse of private information.

He claims Mr Raphael created a false Firsht personal profile and group profile, called “Has Mathew Firsht lied to you?”, from a computer at the flat that Mr Raphael was living at in Hampstead, north west London, in June last year.

Mr Raphael, who denies liability, says “strangers” who attended an impromptu party at the address that day sneaked off to a spare bedroom and created the profiles on his PC.

The profiles were on the site for 16 days until Mr Firsht’s brother spotted them and they were taken down by Facebook.

Mr Firsht’s counsel, Lorna Skinner, told Deputy Judge Richard Parkes QC, in London, that the private information concerned his whereabouts, activities, birthday and relationship status and falsely indicated his sexual orientation and political views.

It said that he was “Looking for: whatever I can get” in terms of relationships and was signed up to other groups, including Gay in the Wood... Borehamwood and Gay Jews in London.

The High Court also heard that he was defamed by claims that he owed substantial sums of money which he had repeatedly avoided paying by lying, and that he and his company were not to be trusted in the financial conduct of their business and represented a serious credit risk.

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