People can now be held accountable for their actions on social media. A jilted boyfriend who put nude pictures of his former lover on Facebook has been sentenced to six months' jail the first social networking-related conviction in Australian history and one of just a handful in the world. Ravshan ''Ronnie'' Usmanov told police: ''I put the photos up because she hurt me and it was the only thing [I had] to hurt her. ''The six pictures, according to court documents, showed his ex-girlfriend ''nude in certain positions and clearly showing her breasts and genitalia''. Advertisement: Story continues below Shortly after posting the pictures on his Facebook page in October last year, Usmanov emailed his girlfriend with the message: ''Some of your photos are now on Facebook''. She had ended their relationship and moved out of their shared home less than three months earlier.
The woman, who The Sun-Herald has chosen not to identify, ran to Usmanov's flat at Pyrmont, demanding he take down the pictures. When he refused, she called the police. Privacy experts say Usmanov's case has exposed the ''tip of the iceberg'' of online offences that rarely go punished. Sentencing the 20-year-old, the Deputy-Chief Magistrate, Jane Mottley, said she was ''deterring both the offender and the community generally from committing similar crimes''. She said: ''New-age technology through Facebook gives instant access to the world. Facebook as a social networking site has limited boundaries. Incalculable damage can be done to a person's reputation by the irresponsible posting of information through that medium. With its popularity and potential for real harm, there is a genuine need to ensure the use of this medium to commit offences of this type is deterred.
''The harm to the victim is not difficult to contemplate: embarrassment, humiliation and anxiety at not only the viewing of the images by persons who are known to her but also the prospect of viewing by those who are not. It can only be a matter for speculation as to who else may have seen the images, and whether those images have been stored in such a manner which, at a time the complainant least expects, they will again be available for viewing, circulation or distribution.''
''She should be able to take action for the invasion of her privacy but she can't at the moment. In the online world it is not a Polaroid shared with people at the pub; it's a Polaroid shared with a billion people or more.''
When approached by The Sun-Herald last week, Usmanov declined to comment. In mitigation, Ms Sten said: ''He was upset so he put the photos up on Facebook. He did this to hurt her. He's sorry he did that. It was a spur-of-the-moment thing. It's just not something he would normally do.''
Ex-lover punished for Facebook revenge