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    ‘Men to avoid’ unhappy to get their own Facebook group

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    A Facebook group that identifies men who are untrustworthy in relationships is illegal, the data protection authority has ruled.

    The group “Foute mannen” – “wrong guys” – was set up in 2016, but only came to notice when one of the men mentioned complained to the authorities.

    The group’s description reads as follows:
    “Did you too come across a wrong guy or a major loser? This group will shortly be banned. Protect yourself and other women by avoiding contact with this sort of loser.”

    The group currently has 545 members, but one of the men posted as one of the targets has filed a complaint for defamation, after being mentioned by name and identified by a photo. The man in question contacted the group owners to have his identity removed, and also Facebook, without success.

    According to the data protection authority, previously known as the privacy commission, the group is in breach of Belgian law. “If you process someone’s data, you must inform them. That is not the case here. The person must also be able to exercise his right to rectification or data erasure. That is not the case either.”

    It also makes no difference, the data authority said, that the group has a private membership. The Brussels Times applied for membership, but at the time of going to press had not yet been admitted.

    The data protection authority issued a statement. “There does exist an exception for personal or household data, but it is very restrictive. Sharing such information with 300 or so women cannot be considered personal.”

    Alan Hope
    The Brussels Times