Facebook has banned a company from advertising on its website after an image of Rehtaeh Parsons was used to advertise a dating website.
The ad was spotted by Rob Russell, who works in Toronto, when it popped up while he was checking his account.
“Immediately I thought, “Wow, somebody must not know whose picture they’re using here,” he said.
“I’m looking at this and I’m thinking ‘How sick is that?’” said the late teen's father, Glen Canning. Parsons died in April after a suicide attempt at the age of 17. Her parents said she was sexually assaulted when she was 15 and then bullied relentlessly for more than a year.
He found out about the advertisement Tuesday night when someone sent him a link in an email. “I’m literally just speechless over this. This is just disgusting.”
Facebook said the company, ionechat.com, will never be allowed to advertise with them again. Canning said that was the only acceptable response.
“What a thing for a parent to see. Especially because Rehtaeh is the victim of a sexual assault and they have her on a dating website. Not only that, she’s also a minor. What does that say?”
Canning said he is going to try to figure out how his daughter’s image ended up on the advertisement.
“In my heart it’s just inexcusable,” he said. “There’s just no way I would accept an excuse that this was just some kind of a glitch.”
Parsons's story of cyberbullying made headlines around the world. Last week, her mother appeared on the Dr. Phil Show to talk about what happened.
Meanwhile, a spokesperson from Facebook encouraged people to report other advertisements if they have concerns.