2017-03-08 02:48:03 UTC
Convicted pedophiles use the social network to share such
images, and reporting them doesn't necessarily lead to their
removal, according to the BBC.
Facebook has come under fire again for failing to remove
sexualized images of children.
As part of a BBC investigation, published Tuesday, 100 such
images were reported to the social network. Only 18 were removed
at that time, the BBC reported.
This is not the first time Facebook has been called out for
failing to combat the posting of problematic or illegal images
of children. An investigation last year, also conducted by the
BBC, uncovered closed groups used by pedophiles to post obscene
images, resulting in one man's conviction and four-year prison
As the world's largest social network, with 1.86 billion people
accessing it at least once a month, Facebook must constantly
wrestle with the content that gets shared on its site, including
violence live-streamed via its Facebook Live feature. The
company has reporting mechanisms, but the BBC's investigation
shows they aren't necessarily enough.
According to the BBC, its investigation also uncovered:
Groups created by pedophiles.
Closed groups with names including "hot xxxx schoolgirls"
featuring images of real children.
Sexualized photographs of children under 16 with obscene
An image that looked like a still frame from a child abuse video.
Five accounts belonging to convicted pedophiles -- whom Facebook
The BBC initially used Facebook's reporting feature to flag what
it had found, before contacting the company directly when most
of the content wasn't removed.
All of the content has now been taken down.
"We have carefully reviewed the content referred to us and have
now removed all items that were illegal or against our
standards," a Facebook spokeswoman said in a statement to CNET.
"This content is no longer on our platform."
Facebook's reporting feature
Damian Collins, a British Parliament member who chairs the House
of Commons Select Committee for Culture, Media and Sport, told
the BBC Radio 4's Today show that he's concerned about
Facebook's manual reviews of reported content.
"What is disturbing is that when these images were brought to
Facebook's attention, they have not taken action to remove all
of these images, nor have they provided any explanation as to
why this is the case," he said.
The UK-based National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to
Children echoed his concerns.
"Facebook's failure to remove illegal content from its website
is appalling and violates the agreements they have in place to
protect children," a spokeswoman for the group said in a
statement to CNET. "It also raises the question of what content
they consider to be inappropriate and dangerous to children."
Facebook told CNET it takes the matter "extremely seriously" and
is continuing to improve its reporting and take-down measures.
"Facebook has been recognized as one of the best platforms on
the internet for child safety," the company spokeswoman said.
An 'astonishing' response
The BBC's report did more than highlight problems with
Facebook's reporting process.
When the BBC journalist contacted Facebook to inform the company
that it was leaving problematic content on its platform, the
social network asked the journalist to send over the images.
Facebook then reported the BBC to the Child Exploitation and
Online Protection Agency (CEOP), which is part of the UK's
National Crime Agency.
Collins said this was an "extraordinary" decision. "I think
that's an astonishing response," he said on BBC Radio 4's Today
The Facebook spokeswoman defended her company's decision.
"It is against the law for anyone to distribute images of child
exploitation," she said. "When the BBC sent us such images we
followed our industry's standard practice and reported them to
She added that Facebook "also reported the child exploitation
images that had been shared on our own platform. This matter is
now in the hands of the authorities."