The High Court has recently awarded damages of £15,000 to a claimant whose uncle posted sensitive private medical information on Facebook, which breached her confidence and amounted to a serious misuse of her private information.
The information in question had been received in confidence from a family member and was posted by the uncle during the course of a bitter family dispute.
This case is an important reminder that individuals who suffer distress by someone posting without their consent private and confidential information on Facebook or other social media can take legal action against the person responsible.
Action may also be possible even if the post is not a public post and only available for a short period of time but it is accessible to a sufficient number of Facebook friends of the poster as well as other people who are tagged.
In this case, such was the sensitive nature of the information about the individual’s treatment for mental health problems and self-harming that the Judge agreed it ought not to have been published even though it was only seen by around 20 to 25 people during the three hours it was available on Facebook.
The claimant in this action also benefited from the anonymisation of the proceedings so that her identity was not made public by the court.
Louise Prince, senior associate in the Firm’s Reputation Protection and Privacy team, said: “This case highlights the impact that a misguided and unkind comment on social media can have on people’s lives.”
For further information on this issue, you can read JQL v NTP  EWHC 1349 (QB).
If you would like further advice on this topic, please contact one of our Privacy and Reputation Protection lawyers here.