Rehtaeh Parsons was a 17-year-old Canadian woman that passed away due to complications of an attempted suicide on April 7th this year. She was allegedly raped by four boys then cyberbullied and harassed up until her suicide attempt.
The silver lining of the occurrence is that in passing she helped to change Canadian law for the better. After her death, an act was approved that allows victims of cyberbullies to protect themselves and to even sue their perpetrators. If you were a Canadian Facebook user, however, you may have seen imagery of her — not for the change that she helped bring about with her passing, but as the image in a dating site ad.
According to the Star, Facebook has apologized and banned the advertiser. A Facebook representative gave The Star the following comment on this case:
“This is an extremely unfortunate example of an advertiser scraping an image from the Internet and using it in their ad campaign. This is a gross violation of our ad policies and we have removed the ad and permanently deleted the advertiser’s account. We apologize for any harm this has caused.”
This ad is of course beyond inappropriate, but it is a good reminder of what can happen with automated marketing (if this is, in fact, the case of a scraped image instead of purposeful use). The automated scraping of images for ads is poor form and can be dangerous to your brand. With options like Facebook’s Shutterstock partnership occurrences like this should never happen.