Facebook, the social media giant, has been censured since a long time for its handling of reports about sexualized pictures of children on its platform. Damian Collins, the Chairman of the Commons media committee, said he had grave doubts about the effectiveness of the social media giant’s content moderation systems.
Facebook “report button” appears to be of no use
This comment by Mr. Collins comes after news site BBC reported many photos to the social media giant and when over 80% of them were not deleted from the platform. The pictures were from groups where users were swapping and discussing child abuse material. The social media giant reported the BBC journalists involved to the police when provided with examples of the pictures and the tech giant further cancelled plans for an interview with BBC. Later, the social media company issued a statement, which said “It is against the law for anyone to distribute images of child exploitation.”
We think it is quite shocking that BBC, which actually was attempting to assist the social network, had been reported to the Police. Even Mr. Collins thinks the same and said BBC was only trying to “help clean up the network”. The tech giant said on its welcome page that it does delete obscene material, including nudity and other related content.
Facebook motivates users to reports inappropriate content through its report button, says the tech giant. If that is true, then why was BBC reported to the authorities? It is time that the social network answers these questions. The tech giant has said that it improved its system since an investigation done last year by BBC. The said investigation revealed “secret” groups, which were being used by pedophiles to swap and upload abuse material. Just to check the claim by the social network, the BBC network used the report button to alert the platform about 100 images which appeared to breach its guidelines, but only 18 images out of the 100 images were removed by Facebook.
Facebook fails to remove accounts of five convicted pedophiles
The other 82 images did not break the “community standards”, said the automated replies of the social network. The rules of the social media platform forbid convicted sex offenders from making accounts but BBC notes that it was able to find about 5 convicted pedophiles with profiles on the tech giant. It reported them but no action was taken.
The NSPCC, National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children, voiced its concern as well. A spokeswoman said, “Facebook’s failure to remove illegal content from its website is appalling and violates the agreements they have in place to protect children.”
“It also raises the question of what content they consider to be inappropriate and dangerous to children.” In a statement, the social network said when the BBC sent them such pictures, they followed the standard practice of their industry and reported them to CEOP. The tech giant further said they reported the child exploitation pictures which were shared on their own platform and that matter is now under authorities’ hands.