Facebook apologizes for dating website ad featuring photo of Rehtaeh Parsons

The Canadian Press

HALIFAX - Facebook apologized Tuesday for featuring an ad for a dating website that used a picture of Rehtaeh Parsons, the 17-year-old Nova Scotia girl who died after attempting suicide in April.

A spokesperson for the company, who did not want to be named, issued a statement late Tuesday that said the ad was a "gross violation" of the company's policies and has been removed.

The company also said the dating site, which it said was Ionechat.com, has been banned from advertising on Facebook.

The ad featured a picture of Parsons under the heading, "Find Love in Canada! Meet Canadian girls and women for friendship, dating or relationships."

Parsons was taken off life-support following a suicide attempt, which her family says was brought on by months of bullying following an alleged sexual assault.

Andrew Ennals, a copy writer in Toronto, said he alerted Facebook to the ad when he spotted it on his Facebook page at around 3:30 p.m. ET, and it was later taken down.

The dating website could not be reached for comment.