A father from County Antrim, Northern Ireland, is taking the social networking site Facebook to court for allowing "inappropriate" photos of his 12-year-old daughter to be published online.
He claims that his daughter is at risk of being targeted by paedophiles due to the "photographic images and literary content" on his daughter's profile page.
Members of Facebook are required to be aged at least 13, but the website does not enforce this rule by asking for proof of age and merely assumes that children will be truthful about their age when signing up for accounts.
The father, who cannot be named in order to protect his daughter's identity, explained that his daughter suffers from behavioural problems and could easily be led astray.
He said: "I'm taking this case against Facebook as a last resort. I was horrified when I saw the photographs my daughter had posted of herself on the site.
"She is far too young to understand what she is doing. She suffers problems and engages in self-destructive behaviour. She is currently receiving counselling."
Speaking of the photos the girl had posted on Facebook, her father said: "She is wearing make-up and a low-cut top. It's completely inappropriate to show such a picture of a 12-year-old.
"I am worried sick even thinking about the danger she could be in. There was another picture on Facebook of my daughter lifting up her top but thankfully that has been removed."
The girl has run away from home in the past and her father fears that she might run away with someone she meets on Facebook.
The writ, filed by the father on Tuesday 5 September, claims that the girl has already received messages from adult men asking her to post sexually explicit content on Facebook.
It goes on to state that Facebook is "guilty of negligence" and has placed the girl at "risk of secual and physical harm".
The father's solicitor, Hilary Carmichael, has encouraged other parents who are concerned about their children's activities on Facebook to use her website ChildrenonFacebook.com.
She said: "I believe Facebook isn't suitable for under-18s but the company isn't even able to uphold its own policy of keeping under-13s out. If a child goes into an off-licence to buy alcohol or a shop to buy cigarettes, they're asked for ID to prove their age.
"Yet a child can join Facebook - and be exposed to a bigger population than that of the entire EU - without any ID being requested. An age check, like asking for a passport number, would be a simple measure to implement."
The father is seeking an injunction to force Facebook to close his daughter's account and prevent her from opening another one. If that fails, he hopes to seek an injunction to stop Facebook's operations altogether in Northern Ireland.
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