Facebook ordered to turn over info about fake page

By The Associated Press
05.12.08

INDIANAPOLIS — A judge has ordered the social networking site Facebook to turn over information identifying the person who set up a fake profile in the name of a high school dean.

Marion Superior Court Judge Robyn Moberly issued the order on May 9, a day after Roncalli High School Dean of Students Tim Puntarelli sued the Web site, alleging harassment and identity theft by the unidentified creator of the profile.

Facebook, based in Palo Alto, Calif., removed the fraudulent profile from its site after Roncalli officials reported it last month. A Facebook spokeswoman declined comment to The Indianapolis Star. The Associated Press sent an e-mail seeking comment from Facebook but didn’t receive a response in time for this story.

Facebook's privacy policy requires a court order or subpoena before it will release identifying information.

The lawsuit said the posting included "pictures and messages inappropriate for a dean of students to send to a student."

Moberly's emergency order required Facebook to preserve all information from the deleted profile.

The Archdiocese of Indianapolis, which operates Roncalli High, doesn't know whether the profile was created by a student or someone unconnected with the Catholic school on Indianapolis' south side.

"The archdiocese hopes to resolve the issue as quickly as possible in order to restore damage done to Puntarelli's reputation and to prevent this type of identity theft from happening again," the archdiocese said in a statement.

Similar profiles have been the subject of lawsuits in other states and have led to debate over whether they are defamation or parody protected by the First Amendment.