In a recent landmark ruling, Nicola Brookes obtained an order from the High Court in London compelling Facebook (by way of Norwich Pharmacal order), to reveal the IP addresses and other information about those responsible for subjecting her to abusive messages on Facebook.
Nicola Brookes had posted a comment on Facebook, supporting a former X Factor contestant, Frankie Cocozza, when he had been voted off the show. Her anonymous attackers set up a fake Facebook profile in her name, using her photo, to post abusive and explicit comments and accusing her of being a paedophile and drug dealer.
This is one of the first cases, where an individual has successfully taken legal action against Facebook to reveal identities of cyber bullies. Nicola Brookes, now intends to bring private prosecutions against her abusers. Facebook has confirmed that it will reveal IP addresses and basic subscriber information (including names, email addresses and registration dates), when it is ordered by a court to do so. Ms Brooke's solicitor has said that if the subscriber information turns out to be fake, they would have to obtain a further order for disclosure of information from the internet service providers, as they would hold the bill payers' addresses.
This case is the latest in a number of cases where individuals are taking action themselves against cyber bullies, where the authorities have declined to do so. In April this year, the family of a teenager in the United States filed libel suits against two of their daughter's classmates for creating a fake Facebook page in her name and using it to post obscene comments on others' Facebook pages, making sexual references and posting a racist video on Youtube.