A Houston woman filed a $123 million “revenge porn” lawsuit against Facebook Inc. and a former “friend,” alleging that the ex-friend launched an objectionable “imposter” Facebook site under her name and that Facebook took months to deactivate the site, despite her repeated requests.
Plaintiff Meryam Ali alleges that the imposter site included Photoshopped photographs “that depict the true face of plaintiff attached to false, phony, naked body shots, and at least one pose where there is plaintiff in a graphic pornographic-like photo … purporting to be in the middle of a sexual act.”
Meryam Ali alleges in Ali v. Facebook that Facebook, of Menlo Park, Calif., did not deactivate the “clearly offensive, disparaging, and defamatory imposter site” until after the Houston Police Department subpoenaed Facebook records in its effort to help identify and locate the “true source” of the imposter Facebook site.
In the petition she filed on July 25, Ali seeks “full justice” for her “significant trauma, extreme humiliation, extreme embarrassment, severe emotional disturbances, and severe mental and physical suffering.”
She also alleges that she wants to “expose the frailties and failures of the falsely advertised and falsely promoted privacy mechanisms of defendant Facebook.”
Ali brings negligence and breach of contract causes of action against Facebook, and gross negligence, intentional infliction of emotional distress and invasion of privacy causes of action against Facebook and defendant Adeel Shah Khan, her former friend who lives in Addison, Ill.
Facebook did not respond to an email request for a response to Ali’s allegations in the petition. A telephone number for Khan was not available online or through directory information, and he did not return a message left at a telephone number obtained through directory assistance for his address in Illinois.
Ali seeks a maximum of 10 cents in actual and punitive damages for each of the 1.23 billion current “subscribers” to Facebook, for a total of $123 million.
Ali’s attorney, David Altenbern, of Altenbern & Associates in Houston, said the imposter site was “very troubling.”
“It’s a pretty serious situation,” Altenbern said. “She is obviously very mad about what happened, very upset.”
As alleged in the petition, Ali learned about the imposter website in December 2013, after some family members and friends saw it.
She alleges that she asked Facebook several times over several months to remove the imposter Meryem Ali site, but Facebook did not do so until after the HPD subpoena.
Ali alleges in the petition that Khan “negligently, knowingly and/or intentionally, maliciously and/or with gross negligence” violated her privacy rights by creating the imposter Facebook site.
“These phony photos falsely and maliciously depicted plaintiff in a clearly derogatory and false light … as some overly bold and overly aggressive sexual person, which plaintiff in fact and truth is not,” Ali alleges in the petition.
Ali alleges that Facebook has paid “tens of millions due to privacy concern violations alleged against Facebook,” and she wants the company to “stand up, take notice and pay attention to the serious privacy violations concerns involved in revenge porn situations.”
Altenburn said Ali met Khan in Chicago about five years ago, and although she visited him in Chicago a couple times, they did not have a serious relationship.
Altenburn said Facebook deactivated the imposter site in mid-February.