A Facebook tribute to a British killer who shot himself dead after a stand-off with police was taken down today after it sparked widespread condemnation, including from the British prime minister.
But the social networking site, which earlier defended the right of the group dedicated to Raoul Moat to create the page, insisted it was not responsible for removing the material.
British Prime Minister David Cameron led the condemnation of the online tribute page, which had more than 38,000 members before it was taken down, and lawmakers and the media joined his call for Facebook to act.
“R.I.P. Raoul Moat You Legend!” was set up after the former nightclub bouncer killed himself on Saturday following one of Britain's biggest manhunts.
He was on the run for a week after shooting his ex-girlfriend and killing her new boyfriend, and shooting and severely injuring a policeman.
Cameron said in the House of Commons yesterday: “It is absolutely clear that Raoul Moat was a callous murderer, full stop, end of story. I cannot understand any wave, however small, of public sympathy for this man.”
He was responding to a question from Conservative lawmaker Chris Heaton-Harris, who urged Facebook to remove the page.
“We don't want to set laws on Facebook at all, but we do want people who are hosting these sites and other pages to have some responsibility,” Heaton-Harris told BBC radio today.
He condemned the comments on the site, which include “RIP Moat. Misunderstood man who was killed by the brutal police who ruined his life”, and “U are a true legend”.