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Directory firm wants ex-workers' Facebook page shut down

The freedom of internet bloggers to take revenge on previous employers is facing a challenge after an investigation into a Facebook page which encourages ex-call centre operators to let off steam.

The social networking website, which has mushroomed to 30 million users worldwide, is being asked to close down the Survivors of 118 118 page because of its high level of abuse.

The action by The Number UK, which runs the 118 118 phone directory, follows two months of monitoring the page, which was set up by two former staff members earlier this year. Potential users, who apply online to become a "friend", are sent an initial skit on 118 118's official marketing. It reads: "The 118 experience: numbers, politeness, quality, productivity, presence, cut-off, refund, angry, Scottish ... bovvered!"

The site lists alleged shortcomings of the directory, but The Number UK said that repeated abuse of customers was the main reason for wanting it shut down.

One of the page's founders, Simon Stranks, says in an online entry that he left 118 118's Cardiff centre in January and wanted to let the world know how difficult callers could be. He claims to have got his own back by "writing their numbers on the walls of public toilets and pasting them on many an internet site".

Andrew Iles, co-founder of the webpage, criticises customers, saying: "People of Britain, rediscover the phonebook, you lazy buggers."

The page has 100 members but none are thought to be working for 118 118, according to The Number UK.

The firm's spokesman, William Ostrom, said: "They absolutely do not represent the views and the attitudes of the vast majority of our staff. We are now in discussion with Facebook for them to withdraw the comments on the grounds that they are defamatory to our customers."

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