Time Magazine reports that dozens of prisoners in Britain have found a sinister use for Facebook: after being locked up for offenses such as murder and assault, inmates are taunting and terrorizing their victims through status updates and group wall posts. Barry Mizen, whose 16-year-old son Jimmy was murdered in 2008, says his family endured months of personal attacks on a Facebook page that was created after Jimmy’s killer, Jake Fahri, was convicted and sentenced to life in prison last March.
Around the same time, taunting messages also started to come from Fahri’s Twitter account, including one that said, “Jimmy Mizen was a pathetic loser.” “There’s got to be more control over this,” Barry Mizen says. “Facebook and Twitter have to take responsibility for what goes on their sites.” British prisons ban inmates from accessing the Internet except for educational purposes, and then only under staff supervision. But prisoners are still finding ways to update their Facebook pages from behind bars, sometimes using smart phones they’ve smuggled into jail. Facebook officials in the U.S. and Europe say they don’t know whether this harassment problem extends beyond Britain, the only place where such cases have been made public.