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Lawmakers urge Facebook to remove fraudulent Sandy Hook tributes

Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) is seen during a hearing held by the Senate Judiciary committee about guns and violence on Capitol Hill in
Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) is seen during a hearing held by the Senate Judiciary committee about guns and violence on Capitol Hill in

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - Three Connecticut lawmakers on Monday urged Facebook Inc to remove fraudulent and abusive tribute pages related to the mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School.

In the months since 20-year-old Adam Lanza killed 26 students and teachers in Newtown, Connecticut, the world's No. 1 social network has been host to an outpouring of genuine online tributes - as well as a hotbed of fraud. In December, a New York City woman was arrested for allegedly posing as the relative of a shooting victim on Facebook and swindling donors.

U.S. Senators Richard Blumenthal and Chris Murphy, as well as Rep. Elizabeth Esty, wrote to Facebook Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg in a joint letter, pressed the company to stamp out pages that "violate the privacy of families as they grieve, or seek financial gain through soliciting donations under false pretenses, or generating Facebook 'likes' for marketing purposes."

Facebook, in a statement, said it had devised a new process with dedicated staff to respond to user complaints related to Sandy Hook, in the wake of the December shooting.

"For the past few months, our rapid response team has acted swiftly to remove inappropriate materials flagged by the foundation and the families," Facebook said. "We will continue to be vigilant."

(Reporting By Gerry Shih; Editing by Tim Dobbyn)

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