LONDON A businessman won a libel case and
22,000 pounds in damages at the High Court on Thursday after
false claims about him were posted on the hugely popular social
networking Web site Facebook.
In a test case, Mathew Firsht sued a former schoolfriend
over a false personal profile on the site that included private
information about him and untrue allegations about his sexual
Firsht said freelance cameraman Grant Raphael had put up
the information on Facebook, which has about 90 million members
worldwide, under the heading "Has Mathew Firsht lied to you?".
The Facebook entry alleged that Firsht was signed up to
other groups, including "Gay in the Wood...Borehamwood" and
"Gay Jews in London".
The profiles remained on the site for 16 days until they
were spotted by Firsht's brother and removed.
Raphael had claimed that the profile was created on a
computer at his home without his knowledge by someone who had
attended a private party there.
But that was dismissed by Deputy Judge Richard Parkes who
awarded Firsht 15,000 pounds and his television company
Applause Store Productions 5,000 pounds in libel damages.
Firsht was also awarded 2,000 pounds for breach of his
In a hearing earlier this month Firsht's lawyer Lorna
Skinner said "Facebook enthusiast" Raphael had borne a grudge
since the two men fell out in 2000.
She said he had created the false entry to cause Mr Firsht
anxiety and embarrassment.
(Reporting by Michael Holden; Editing by Tim Castle)