Cyber bullies have been using vile web pages to target Leeds schoolchildren with racist, homophobic and sexually explicit abuse.
As part of an investigation by the Yorkshire Evening Post into the internet threat to youngsters, we discovered a string of ‘Dirty Secrets’ pages hosted by social media site Facebook.
Some victimise teenagers at two named schools – Ralph Thoresby in Cookridge and Cardinal Heenan Catholic High in Meanwood – while others focus on youngsters living in Bramley, Pudsey and Beeston.
The pages invite comments on named individuals, much of it highly offensive lies, some even including naked photos.
After contacting police, Leeds City Council education chiefs this week wrote to every Leeds school to warn headteachers of the dangers and have asked Facebook to remove the offending pages.
But there are fears that there may be more than the five pages identified to Facebook by the YEP.
The local education authority say they will now be looking for more and will repeatedly call on the social media giant to take the same action.
Paul Brennan, the council’s deputy director for learning and skills, said: “These pages are abhorrent, but hopefully we’ve nipped this in the bud because it had the potential to go viral and spread across schools, not just in Leeds but across West Yorkshire. Our advice now is to anyone to let us know about anything like this in the future so we can act immediately.”
A Facebook spokesperson confirmed the pages had been removed two days ago. They said: “We are clear that there is no place for bullying or harassment on Facebook. When a page such as this crosses a line and posts bullying content then we will remove it. We have a real name policy and provide our users reporting links on every page of our site so they can flag content to us for removal. We encourage people to use these tools so we can take appropriate action.”