In a bombshell report this week, the BBC accused Facebook of failing to remove “sexualized images” of children. The case took an even stranger turn when Facebook reported BBC investigators to authorities for themselves possessing the materials.
The BBC first reported last year that closed Facebook groups were being used by pedophiles to trade child photography, and Facebook promised that it was improving its content regulation. However, when the British media giant published the results of a follow-up study this week, it revealed that Facebook is still woefully unresponsive in dealing with the issue. The BBC flagged 100 images it claims violated Facebook’s guidelines, and only 18 were removed. The organization also found and reported five convicted pedophiles on the site, a clear violation of Facebook’s rules in the UK, and the site did nothing about that, either.
“I think it raises the question of how can users make effective complaints to Facebook about content that is disturbing, shouldn’t be on the site, and have confidence that that will be acted upon,” Damian Collins, chairman of the UK House of Commons media committee, said.
What’s worse, Facebook reported several BBC reporters to the police after they shared some of the offending images directly with the site.
There’s no malicious motive on Facebook’s part to allow illegal content, but it’s clear the site needs to take another look at its own moderation practices to ensure incidents like this don’t keep happening.