Revenge porn - the act of maliciously posting nude pictures online of people (mostly women) without their consent - has long been one of the humiliating side effects of the social media age. But a new lawsuit between a 14 year old girl in Ireland and Facebook could set a new precedent, giving victims of revenge porn hope that one day their cases will be heard in court. And the tech world is reportedly quaking in its boots $300 trainers.

In the UK case in question, the teenage girl repeatedly had naked photos (obtained through blackmail) of herself published on a Facebook shame page. After alerting Facebook to the indecent pictures, they were taken down several times, but never permanently blocked. The case argues that Facebook is liable for this, despite the tech giant spouting the standard social media party line: that it's impossible for them to monitor the huuuuge number of content uploads to the site each day. (And yet - the same company can ban users from Instagram for posting images of nipples on their accounts?)

After losing a legal bid last month to have the case overturned, a High Court judge in Belfast deemed that the lawsuit will go ahead. Facebook's lawyers usual rely upon a European directive that gives them protection from having to monitor a vast amount of material uploaded online. But according to Paul Tweed, a media lawyer and senior partner at the law firm Johnsons lawyers who spoke to The Guardian, "A case like this risks opening the floodgates for other civil cases to be taken against Facebook and other social media sites." Apparently there's already been an influx of revenge porn victims enquiring about their own potential civil lawsuit cases.

Could this be the dawn of a new age for social media responsibility (and liability)? Or, even more hopefully, the start of proper policing of the interwebs? 

The revenge porn case that could spell bad news for Facebook