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An administrator for an online dating website has apologized after using a photo of Nova Scotia teen Rehtaeh Parsons in an ad that appeared on Facebook, and has shut down the site.
The ad for featured a photo of Parsons under the heading ‘Find love in Canada’ -- and alongside a call for people to “Meet Canadian girls and women for friendship, dating or relationships.” The story of Parsons’ suicide this year following an alleged sexual assault and the cyberbullying she endured made headlines around the world.
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Facebook confirmed they have banned the company involved in the dating advert from the social network."This is an extremely unfortunate example of an advertiser scraping an image from the internet and using it in their ad campaign," a spokesman said."This is a gross violation of our ad policies and we have removed the ad and permanently deleted the advertiser's account."We apologise for any harm this caused."In a blog post, Rehtaeh's father Glenn Canning said he was "bewildered and disgusted" by the incident after being alerted to the advert earlier this week.
Speaking to , Ms Canning said she and her husband are "constantly reliving the nightmare over and over again".
The website is no longer running and the company has since removed the ad.
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On Wednesday afternoon, a website administrator for emailed CTV News, saying it was an "accident" that Rehtaeh's image was used in the company’s ad.
"I simply used a tool to scrape images randomly on Google Images and inserted it into the [Facebook] ad campaign," Anh Dung said in an email, adding: "I sincerely apologize." He said he was not aware of Rehteah's story, and "didn't know it was the victim's photo." The site on Wednesday afternoon was no longer operating.