Blumenthal, Murphy, Esty to Zuckerberg: Yank Newtown Pages On FB

by Categorized: Newtown Date:

Senators Blumenthal and Murphy joined U.S. Rep. Esty today in a letter to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg about the increasing number of Netwtown tribute pages. They say the FB sites have become a source of harassment for the surviving families. In particular they point to pages dedicated to Victoria Soto and Kaitlin Roig.

Read the letter here:

Dear Mr. Zuckerberg,

It has come to our attention that Facebook has received multiple requests from grieving Newtown families to remove Facebook pages being used to harass them or to exploit their loss.

In the past several months, Facebook users have created hundreds of unofficial tribute pages dedicated to the victims of Sandy Hook. For example, The Greenwich Time reports over 100 tribute pages have been created using Victoria Soto’s name or likeness.

Many give the appearance they were created by loved ones in the names of the victims. Unfortunately, many of these pages have become vehicles for harassment, intimidation and possibly financial fraud.

Pages providing platforms for people to violate the privacy of families as they grieve, or seek financial gain through soliciting donations under false pretenses, or generating Facebook “likes” for marketing purposes, should not be given quarter in the Facebook community. 

In fact, several of your company’s terms of service speak directly to this point. The Facebook terms of service requires each user creating a page agree to a series of commitments, including the following:

    •          “You will not provide any false personal information on Facebook, or create an account for anyone other than yourself without permission.”
    •          “You will not post content or take any action on Facebook that infringes or violates someone else\’s rights or otherwise violates the law.”
    •          “You will not bully, intimidate, or harass any user.”
    •          “You will not use Facebook to do anything unlawful, misleading, malicious, or discriminatory.”

In the “Facebook Community Standards”, your company plainly states, “We ask that you refrain from publishing the personal information of others without their consent. Claiming to be another person, creating a false presence for an organization, or creating multiple accounts undermines community and violates Facebook’s terms.”

The Facebook terms of service also makes clear, “We can remove any content or information you post on Facebook if we believe that it violates this Statement or our policies.”

We ask that you direct your staff to remove the pages referred to in complaints by Donna Soto and Kaitlin Roig down for violating the above terms of service. If you do not believe these pages violate your terms of service, please detail in a written response why. If Facebook is already looking into this matter, please detail what you have done thus far to address the take-down requests from of Donna Soto and Kaitlin Roig. Our staff and we will be pleased to work with appropriate Facebook officials to address these issues affecting the Soto and Roig families, and others who  may be affected by such abusive, unacceptable practices.

The horrific Newtown tragedy shocked and shook Connecticut and the nation, capturing hearts worldwide. Unfortunately it also apparently attracted less worthy attention.  We recognize that Facebook receives a large volume of reports and requests each day, but this issue deserves and needs priority enforcement of your own well-established policies. We trust you will do the right thing.


U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal

U.S. Senator Chris Murphy

U.S. Congresswoman Elizabeth Esty

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35 thoughts on “Blumenthal, Murphy, Esty to Zuckerberg: Yank Newtown Pages On FB

  1. Connecticut is Dying Too

    Will our legislators do anything besides seek political advantage out of this tragedy?

    Rome is burning folks and Nerobama and our legislators continue to play the fiddle. Its really getting pathetic.

  2. Clara

    The investigation should include “when/date” and “whom” opened these FB accounts. Many news reports indicate they were created “prior” to the incident on 12/14. Furthermore, I find this somewhat contradictory when the families themselves provided info and news, donation account links that were published around the world and as far reaching as the UK. The timing of the donation accounts was astonishing! Some were created the same day and the week after. This entire incident is very
    suspect and warrants deep and truthful investigation
    and reporting. I’m very disappointed in the lack of truthful, factual reporting in an incident that involved children and is probably the most horrific incident that I’ve seen in my life. Shame on Ct for not getting their hands around ALL of this and answering all the unanswered questions.

    1. Matthew Oakes

      Yes because you know pages created BEFORE the incident that were renamed wouldn’t retain the original date. Yes because there is not actually program that can change the date. You have ALL of this information at your fingertips but you refuse to use it. Shame on you.

  3. Sam

    I dont think anyone should be exploiting these greiving Newtown families. Including our politicians. It is amazing what politicians will take advantage of to keep their names in the news. Anyone who takes advantage of these families should be ashamed of themselves including our politicians using this to further there anti gun agendas.

  4. John Q. Public

    Maybe they should take some of their own advice and not use the children and adults killed in this atrocity to further their own agendas.

    Every time the media, these “legislators”, and others bring up this tragedy is is reopening wounds for all involved. To turn around and then condemn others for doing similar actions while doing it themselves is ironic and disgusting at the same time.

    People who lived in glass houses and all…

    Also, slightly off topic, I make an open plea to all media outlets to stop using the shooter’s name in any and all reports. It glorifies him in other people’s eyes and sends the wrong message. We need to ERASE him from history. Remember the fallen, NOT the killer. I routinely refer to him only as “the shooter.” Why does the media use HIS name but rarelt refers to the victims by name other than Soto?

    1. Big Earl

      So in your comment you say that people need to stop mentioning everything because the families affected don’t want to be reminded every day… Then you say stop saying the killers name and start saying the names of those who died!!

      make up your mind. I get the point about the shooter, but honestly, news outlets will always use the name, you can’t stop that. These people aren’t celebrated, and they are dead so they don’t know that they are being discussed. I think the possibility of a person opting to go on a rampage to ‘make a name for themselves’ is very slim and unrealistic. I’d say people who do this have already made the decision and aren’t swayed by seeing how much killer’s names are used

      1. John Q. Public

        You are correct in the hypocrisy of my statement, to a point. I was referring more to the idea that the media glorifies the shooter, and exploits the victims and their familes.

        And I disagree that the killers aren’t celebrated. Almost all the serial and mass killers in the past century (or more) are referred to reverently in TV, movies, even comic books. It’s actually disturbing (at least to me).

        And you say “I think the possibility of a person opting to go on a rampage to ‘make a name for themselves’ is very slim and unrealistic.” Have you read the recent reports that the CT State Police believe this shooter was trying to get a higher death count than the Norweigian killer? That very much goes against your statement. The biggest difference between them was this killer used firearms and not bombs. Had he used bombs instead, this could/would have been far worse.

        And maybe I cannot stop the media from uising the killer’s name in this or any case. But if we, the readers and consumers of the media product, call for them to stop and refuse to buy their products (papers, magazines, watch whatever news station, etc), maybe they would get the message and stop doing it.

        A utopian idea, but one that would be preferable to the current way of doing things nonetheless.

        1. Bast

          No, it isn’t hypocrisy that you engaged it. You were just plan dumb. I would hate to listen to your circular dinner conversation.

  5. Sharpshooter

    First the 3 blind mice attack the 2nd Amendment, now they attack the 1st amendment…I was wonder how long it would take the progressives to make that move….answer…less than a week

  6. HarryH

    Politics – not that they are wrong but if there was no political gain we’d never hear from them. They have now pointed out to people how they can take advantage. By the time the politicans get done nothing will get done. None have actually introduced anything they just talk and talk and talk.
    Anyone who takes anything on facebook seriously has a real problem.
    Go back to work and do something and shut up.

  7. Time for Change!

    You people shouldn’t pick on Senator Blumenthal like that. Don’t forget he is a decorated Vietnam war hero!

    1. Mitch

      oh yeah … except for the fact he’s never been to Vietnam .. great point. But boy he got the Vets in the state to vote for him. One group of people you’d never think would be suckered in.

  8. tom bienemann

    As long as our legislators are taking shots at the media they might want to put the Courant on their list. Months of non-stop gratuitous coverage to leverage the emotions of the grieving for the sale of papers does not meet the level of quality journalism.

  9. jsk

    Why the anti-Obama comments? Let’s review the last 12 years of government. 8 years republican rule of executive branch. Ten years rule of legislative branch rule by Republicans. Twelve years de facto rule of the judicial branch by Republicans. State of Connecticut: 12 years rule in the legislature of Democrats, yes, but 10 years rule Republican in the governorship (counting LWP as a republican-lean since he was once an elected Republican.) You are stupid. Stop trolling. Turn off Fox News, grow a brain. Moderates like myself are sick of Republicans and are turning Libertarian. Last election, I voted for 1 Libertarian, 1 Republican and the rest Democrats. You know why? Because your party is awful. It’s part mysticism and part-selective truth. You disenfranchised every young republican by chasing away Ron Paul at the convention. Your track record is spending and wars – if you ever look it up. So, you know what, I think the facebook pages of Newtown victims are too much. And it has absolutely nothing to do with Obama.

    I hate Boehner’s Newtown facebook page. I hate Rand A-Paul-Ing’s A-Rod page. Blah Blah Blah. You’re stupid and have no brain nor ability to think for yourself. 1080 WTIC right wing stupid mind. You know what – here – think about this… because you’ll vomit or have a stroke. Obama recently hired a lawyer who defended Bush in the 2000 election aftermath to head a commission on election reform. You have to like that lawyer? But you have to hate Obama and everything he does? Stupid Right-wing mind blown. Obama is mediocre. Get over it.

    1. Connecticut is Dying Too

      @jsk: You may want to get some help for your anger issues. Seems like your head is about to explode.

      Last I checked this was a free country and all opinions were welcome- even yours. As for me, I really don’t really give a rat’s arse who you like or hate or who you’ll vote for and who you won’t.

      I do know this country is going down the crapper and Obama and his socialist budget-busting buddies are flushing the handle. Even a rhesus monkey could figure that out.

    2. johngaltwhereru


      Here is a little reality:

      There have not been 10 of the last 12 years of majority legislative branch control by the Republicans.

      The first 2 years of the Bush Administration (2001-2002) the Republicans did not have majority control the Senate. Democrats controlled the House from 2007-2010. Republicans have not had majority control of the Senate since 2006.

      That leaves 3 (not 10) incredibly prosperous and incredibly low unemployment years, 2003-2006, that Republicans had total control of Washington. But what is undeniable, certifiable reality and truth to a Liberal?

      How, in your warped and misinformed brain, is chasing away Ron Paul and the Republican Party turning “too Libertarian” together in the same rant? Ron Paul is Libertarianism.

      As long as Obama uses Newtown as a tool for his Pre-existing anti-2nd Amendment agenda, he is subject to any and all criticism pertaining to Newtown.

      Since you hate conservative news sources, where do you obtain unfavorable information about the Obama Administration, especially prior to elections? Perhaps if you got information from non-liberal sources, you would not have been so incredibly wrong regarding majority control of Congress.

      Obama hires lawyers that win. Lawyers argue for their client.

      Feel free to prove anything I said wrong. By prove, I mean with data, not opinion.

      1. johngaltwhereru


        There were so many fallacies in your rant, I forgot to address you comments about spending and wars.

        Bush’s largest deficit was approximately 1/3rd the size of Obama’s smallest deficit. I agree that Bush deficit spent too much, but it was pocket change compared to Obama’s deficit spending.

        America’s Legacy in Wars:

        World War I entered by W.Wilson(D)
        World War II entered by F.D.R. (D)
        Korean War entered by Harry Truman (D)
        Vietnam War entered by J.F.K. (D)
        Bay of Pigs Invasion/Cuban Missle Crisis J.F.K. (D)
        Somalia and the Balkans Bill Clinton (D)

        I am not excusing the Bush’s for their wars, but you are in complete denial of reality and need to examine where you obtain your information.

        1. Johngaltwhereru


          I just keep on finding flaws in your rant.

          You the claim that you are a moderate who has become turned off and is turning Libertarian. I’m not sure how you can reconcile those statements in your brain, but if you can, you don’t know what the terms moderate and libertarian mean.

          If you want moderate Republicans to run for office, you can expect to continue to get your clock cleaned like Dole, McCain and Romney did.

          Or, you can run real Conservatives like Rubio, who won a State that Obama won. Or Scott Walker, who won twice in a State Obama won. Or Kelly Ayotte, who won in a State Obama won. Or John Kasich, who won a State Obama won.

          Should I keep going, or are you starting to have your moment of clarity?

          1. Connecticut is Dying Too

            Dr. John,

            I used to think a moderate like McCain or Romney could reach across the aisle and get things done for this country. The electorate thought otherwise. Sadly, I think you are right. Each party has retreated to their extreme corners and compromise is in short supply these days.

            That said and if those are the new rules, I’ll take the conservative every day of the week. I just hope we can get one elected and put the cancer of liberalism in remission.

        2. johngaltwhereru

          CT Dying,

          If people were looking for moderates, as they claim, a Liberal Republican former Mass Governor would have mopped the floor with an extreme Liberal, uncompromising, lying Chicago Thug Politician.

          Obama won because his base showed up. His base showed up because he is unapologeticaly Liberal, believes his own non-sense, and mobilized a voter turnout operation conducted by people who believe what he believes.

          What Conservative Republican would ever lift a finger to mobilize voter turnout for a candidate who they know will take a dump all over their prinicples?

          1. Connecticut is Dying Too

            I agree with much of what you say but take issue with the last sentence. Conservatives who don’t want to lift a finger to elect even a moderate Republican get what they deserve- a liberal like Obama. I’d rather be the dumpee from a Romney administration than the recipient of the unrelenting s**tstorm of liberalism coming from the Obmanation.

          2. johngaltwhereru


            I agree that Romney, or any other RINO would have been better than Obama. And it would be nice to think people would mobilize to defeat Obama.

            However, you could tell people 10 minutes of exercise per day would keep them thin and healthy, regardless of what they ate, and you would still have a huge percentage of the population existing in a sedentary lifestyle.

            People need to be excited about a candidate to spend their free time working. When your candidate doesn’t believe the same things you do, and the best thing they have going for them is that they are less offensive than Obama, it is hard enough to get to get people off the couch to vote, never mind go door to door making sure others get off the couch to vote.

      2. Mike Robinson

        JG, You forgot to mention that from 2000 to 2008 Bush could veto any bill. Dems needed 66% in both houses to get by a veto. Hardly what I would call Democratic control. I know those years of Republican control were wonderful, but 2 years later the economy crashed before the election.

        1. Johngaltwhereru

          That is irrelevant to this discussion,misleading, and assumes House Democrats had nothing to do with the 07′ and 08′ budgets. It has nothing to do jsk’s false statements.

          It is misleading in the fact that the 08′ economic collapse had absolutely nothing to do with Bush policies. It was caused by a housing collapse combined with shady banking policy. This shady banking policy was allowed to occur due to the repeal of Glass-Steagle, which was signed by Clinton.

          1. Johngaltwhereru

            Just in case you thought Bush simply thwarted the will of the Democratic legislature through veto, Bush had a grand total of 12 vetoes. This is compared to 37 for Clinton, 31 for Carter(in one term), 30 for LBJ,21 for JFK, and the list goes on.

            Additionally, of the minuscule 12 vetoes Bush did sign, 4 were overridden by those poor helpless Democrats, leaving a Grand Total of 8.

            Let’s not re-write history. As jsk found out, facts are readily available.

          2. Mike Robinson

            JG, You know as well as I do that the threat of veto inhibits legislation. Don’t be silly.

            Gee, you forgot to mention Obama’s vetoes in your summary, Dr. Facts Only.

            President Obama vetoed just 2 bills.

          3. johngaltwhereru


            Obviously the threat of veto did not stop Republicans from passing 37 bills that Clinton vetoed. That is a very weak excuse.

            Onto Obama. From 2009-2010, Obama’s party had overwhelming majorities in Congress. Why would he need to veto anything?

            From that point on, Harry Reid and the Democrats have controlled the Senate and refused to bring dozens of Republican passed bills to the floor. Again, no reason to veto. Anything Obama would not approve of would never be discussed in the Senate.

            You must know this, right?

  10. TomB

    When is the Courant going to remove the “Tragedy in Newtown” section from its website? I can understand some cheap, posturing politicians working for publicity, and I know the Courant backs these people regardless, but does the Courant really think people need to see a special section?

  11. Tom

    Also, why don’t they just shut down their own FB pages?
    This is all so contradictory by government and by the parents… the parents have their faces and articles written about their families all over the world on the Net and in newspapers, advertising their ****donation sites but “are getting harassed on FB..” Really?!?! There’s something so wrong with government and this entire Newtown story, and all these “politicians” are tied into it. Its all about power and money, and if you think any of them care about the common man, think again! The entire handling of this incident is an embarrassment to our country, not just to Ct. The way this has been handled is beyond appalling. I don’t believe anything I read or hear anymore because journalists need to go back to being journalists and start “really” investigating and reporting the news instead of being “politically correct and reporting only what they are told to!” The debacle in Newtown and over gun legislation is being discussed all over the world… people are not as stupid as government would like them to be. They’re starting to really pay attention again.. things just don’t add up here. None of the Newtown “story” makes any sense from start to finish. I have had people ask me about it from all over the country… Even the big players, the 1%, have noticed the holes in this story, reporting, investigation etc…. there’s a lot of talk, just very little truth or those who are speaking publicly about it.
    This was an incident that wasn’t rocket science to report on or investigate. What’s the problem?!?! I think we all know what it is. I realize the state of Ct “could be” concerned with lawsuits if all “is” wat they say it is, however, that in itself is telling to me. Lawsuits are unavoidable aren’t they??? hhmmmm
    I have yet to see a photo of the “shot out door” of the school… And where are the *****security videos?

  12. Mitch

    It would be really refreshing if Chris Murphy just focused on doing his job and going to meetings, something he didn’t do much of during his earlier term. Putting an awful lot of effort into the anti-gun stuff, and not doing much else. First Amendment is First Amendment. Everyone should just give the Newtown, Conn., tragedy a break for a few days, never saw anyone carry on about Va Tech or Fort Hood? Would be nice if Esty, Blumenthal and Murphy were as obsessed about those events, or how about the 500 shot in Chicago last year? What gives?

  13. Uncle Dave

    All those other memorial sites must be negatively impacting contributions at the “official” memorial sites.

  14. enness

    I have an idea: why don’t we let Facebook police its own user policy, or give actual law enforcement a chance to follow up on criminal activity? Sheesh.

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