Newtown Facebook tribute pages trouble families, politicians


Parents of Sandy Hook Elementary massacre victims hold hands during a press conference on the one month anniversary of the Newtown elementary school massacre on January 14, 2013 in Newtown, Connecticut. Eleven families of Sandy Hook massacre victims came to the event one month after the shooting to give their support to Sandy Hook Promise, a new non-profit with the goal of preventing such tragedies in the future.


John Moore

Three Connecticut politicians have broken through to Facebook where families couldn’t, getting assurances from the social networking site that it would remove fraudulent or distasteful Newtown tribute pages.

US Sen. Richard Blumenthal, Sen. Chris Murphy and US Rep. Elizabeth Esty wrote a letter to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg asking him to remove the pages, The Associated Press reported.

“Certainly there have been many, too many, of these pages that are intimidating or harassing or exploitative,” Blumenthal told the AP. “I’m pleased that Facebook has responded positively.”

Saying the sites are harassing family members and violating Facebook’s terms of use, the lawmakers said they’re aware of over 100 pages connected to Sandy Hook Elementary School, the shooting and those involved.

Newtown shooting pages on Facebook run a gamut from honest outlets to grieve, to attempts to solicit money, to conspiracy theorists, and to extremists that suggest Adam Lanza was sent by God.

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The 20-year-old shooter killed 27 others on Dec. 14 last year, including 20 children and six staff members of the school.

One of the most troubling to survivors suggested the children wouldn’t have died had there been more prayer in schools.

“The crooks at Sandy Hook deny the good book and now face the wrath of god,” an anonymous Facebook user posted, according to The Daily Mail.

Another suggests teacher Kaitlin Roig, who hid students from the shooter, was an actress.

Donna Soto, whose 27-year-old daughter Victoria died trying to protect a classroom of Grade 1 students, tried in vain to contact Zuckerberg.

A Facebook representative only told the Greenwich Time the site would remove pages that violate its terms of use and those that are “threatening or harassing.”

Soto said she maintains a Facebook tribute page to her daughter because it offers “diversion” despite the sometimes derisive comments.

“I love to read the comments from people all over the country and world telling me how my daughter has changed the way people think, or that people have changed their career path because of her,” she told Greenwichtime.com.

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