Rehtaeh Parsons memory violated by Facebook dating ad that used her picture

Remember the tragic story of Rehtaeh Parsons, the 17-year-old girl from Nova Scotia, Canada who hung herself after being gang-raped and bullied by four15-year-old boys? A online dating site called Lonechat.com decided to use a picture of the deceased teen for a Facebook sponsored ad on how to "Find Love in Canada!" Isn't that the most horrendous thing you've ever heard?

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The incredibly insensitive advertisement featured a photo of Rehtaeh that read, "Meet Canadian girls and women for friendship, dating or relationships. Signup now!" A social media user named Andrew Ennals spotted the ad while signed on to his Facebook account. He instantly recognized there was something familiar about the photo and tweeted, "Supreme bad taste: a dating site's Facebook ad is using a picture of Rehtaeh Parsons." If you think this guy was upset you could imagine how furious Rehtaeh's parents were.

"It's our image. It belongs to Rehtaeh's family. Just to lift it off and start using it like that is very thoughtless," said her dad, Glen Canning, during a phone interview on Wednesday with an online Canadian news outlet. After hearing about the ad, Facebook immediately banned lonechat.com from its site, claiming it was a "gross violation." Thank goodness!

"I think banning the Ionechat.com company was the right move to make," Mr. Canning said. "It's hard to say what can be done, but I think Facebook removed it fast, and I appreciate that, and they apologized for it, which is good."

It baffles me that any company would think they could get away with using the image of a deceased teen for advertising purposes. But it disgusts me that this site went as far as using a photo of a girl who died as a result of cyber bullying to promote online dating. What kind of cruel and demented person would think this is okay?

This wasn't just distasteful but straight up insensitive. Her poor family has been through enough with her death, they don't need to see her in inappropriate Facebook advertisements too. I'm just glad it was removed, and hopefully something like this never happens again!

Images via Facebook & Twitter

Topics: controversy