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Web giants left out of cyber-bully taskforce

THE Government-formed working group tasked with producing new guidelines on cyber bullying had no representatives from internet giants who are based in Dublin.

The Herald has learned that major players such as Facebook and Google did not have a direct involvement in Education Minister Ruairi Quinn's report on combatting bullying, due to be released on Thursday.

This is despite the fact that so many incidents of bullying and harassment happen on social networks.

The Department of Education's report is set to have a major focus on cyber bullying -- which is credited with attributing to the suicides of tragic Irish schoolgirls Ciara Pugsley (12) and Erin Gallagher (13).

When asked if some of the internet giants were part of the group, the department confirmed that they were not. Facebook made a presentation to the group as part of its research purposes.

"No private company had a representative on the Anti-Bullying Working Group," a spokeswoman said.

Independent TD Finian McGrath criticised the decision, adding: " The cyber world of Facebook and Twitter is a minefield for young people. For us to truly combat bullying online, the group should have been populated by representatives from these companies."

hnews@herald.ie