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Peeved Facebook Might Sue Brit Tabloid Over '14-Year-Old Girl' Headline Chaser

Facebook has become quite familiar with legal proceedings in recent years, but the site may soon be reversing its accustomed role as the defendant. In response to a derogatory and inflammatory piece (of tripe) in the U.K.'s Daily Mail, Facebook has reportedly threatened to sue the tabloid because of a glaring and slanderous "mistake."

The story focuses on the dangers of pedophiles and teens co-mingling on social networking sites, and its original title specifically read "I Posed as a Girl of 14 on Facebook." The problem? The statement was a blatant lie. While the author apparently did set up a fictional social networking account, it wasn't on Facebook. The Daily Mail has since addressed the grievous error, but it only offered an incredibly weak and transparent "clarification." (Though the Mail was quick to name Facebook, it still hasn't revealed the actual networking site used by the undercover operative.)

In the actual report, the author claims that within minutes, perverts were sexually propositioning the fictional character. The author frequently uses hyperbole and exaggeration in apparent attempts to terrify parents, using language like "dangerous environment," and referring to social networking sites as an "adventure playground" for pedophiles.

Now, as 'Dateline' has made readily apparent, sexual predators do prowl the Web, but to single out Facebook (even if it was unintentional) is abhorrent. The site has taken a dramatic stand against sexual abuse and has actively sought out, and thrown out, sexual deviants. In order to justify some of the Mail author's language, we actually did set up an account for a fictional 15-year-old girl on Facebook. But, after more than two hours, our lonely teen in search of friendship and dating has remained safely and gratefully alone.

Although frivolous social networking lawsuits tend to clog the courts and waste money, this one definitely seems worthy of pursuit. And, since Mark Zuckerberg has solidified himself on the Forbes billionaire list, the 'Daily Mail' has definitely picked the wrong nerd to bully. Go get 'em, Facebook. [From: The Guardian UK, via: BBC News and Gawker and All Facebook]

Tags: Facebook, pedophilesonline, social networking, SocialNetworking, the daily mail, TheDailyMail, top, web