Bullied teen's photo used to advertise dating website

OTTAWA (AFP) - Parents of a Canadian girl who killed herself after months of cyberbullying following a rape were sickened on Wednesday that her image was used to advertise an online dating service.

Seventeen-year-old Nova Scotia teenager Rehtaeh Parsons died in April.

Two young men were arrested last month for circulating photographs of four boys allegedly raping her at a drunken party in 2011, and are to appear in court on Thursday.

This week, website ionechat.com posted other images of Rehtaeh to promote its dating services, but it has since been shut down.

"When I first saw it I thought, 'You gotta be kidding me,'" Rehtaeh's father Glen Canning told AFP.

"My daughter dealt with so much online harassment, and it drove her to suicide, and here you have an ad on Facebook using her image for a dating website. It's just sick," he said.

Mr Canning said he doesn't know if the photographs were lifted off the Internet and used without knowledge of Rehtaeh's tragic story, or whether the website was looking to use her image specifically to create buzz for itself.

Regardless, Facebook moved quickly to shut it down, and apologised to Rehtaeh's family.

A spokesman for Facebook said in an email to AFP: "This is an extremely unfortunate example of an advertiser scraping an image from the Internet and using it in their ad campaign."

The ad has been removed and the advertiser's account has been permanently deleted, she said, adding: "We apologise for any harm this has caused."

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