Sep 12 2014
A Gold Coast City councillor says she’s been threatened with gang-rape and death over a proposed mosque, and Facebook has been protecting the identity of her tormentors.
(Maybe they were threatening to kill her career? Or to show her what Muslims do to young white girls in the UK?)
Brisbane Times Chris Robbins says she has spent several weeks trying to get Facebook to reveal the identity of the creators of the “Stop the Mosque at Currumbin” page after it used a photo of her as its profile picture, claiming she was receiving money from unspecified Islamic backers, a claim she denies.
— Andrew Potts (@GCS_Pottsy) September 11, 2014
The photo was subsequently removed after Ms Robbins engaged a lawyer who threatened the social media website with defamation, but the page and user comments threatening her with violence remain. Ms Robbins said she was targeted by protesters after announcing council had received an application to build a mosque at an industrial site in Currumbin on the southern end of the Gold Coast.
“Horrific vilification, threatening all kinds of nastiness directed at me because I’d basically gone to the meeting and said council’s got an application for a mosque and we will be assessing it as we’re obliged to by law,” she said. “That essentially peeved some people who wanted me to stand up and say that at the end of the day this wouldn’t happen.”
Controversy over the proposed development has deepened after it received support at a council planning committee meeting on Wednesday. Queensland police are investigating after death threats were made against Cameron Caldwell and William Owen-Jones, two of the five councillors who approved the planning proposal.
The page published contact details for all five of the councillors after Wednesday’s meeting, calling them “traitors” and asking followers to contact them with their views.
Ms Robbins, who voted against the proposal on Wednesday, says the lack of accountability for the page’s authors is despicable and highlights how easily people can target victims through social media with little fear of consequences.
“I’m very upset that the social media platform has taken no responsibility,” she said. “If you want to make the people who posted to take responsibility for it, Facebook won’t tell you who they are. That’s what really peeves me because I would take legal action against those people for vilifying me. “I can’t take on Facebook. I don’t have the money to take on Facebook in the USA.
“Facebook is allowing those individuals to hide their identity and to vilify and libel and threaten people like me. That’s okay, I can handle it, but if I’m 15? This is a terrible thing.” (But you are NOT 15)
Ms Robbins, who believes there are some legitimate community concerns about the proposal, says a final decision on whether the mosque application gets approved will be judged on planning grounds and nothing else.