As accusations go it’s perhaps the worse you could level at any website: paedophiles using your platform to share images of children via secret groups.
Usually such practices take place in hidden, murky corners of the web, or the dark web, far from the general public and certainly not on one of the world's biggest social platforms used by over a billion people.
But the BBC revealed last week that it had uncovered and infiltrated groups on Facebook that share photos of schoolgirls accompanied by obscene comments, using the 'secret group' function to remain hidden.
For example, the BBC said that one secret group was called 'cute teen schoolies' and contained a picture of a 10- or 11-year-old girl in a vest, accompanied by the words 'yum yum'.
The BBC flagged up this image, and several others, to Facebook, but was told that they do not breach "community standards", so the images remained. Another group, called 'we love schoolgirlz', was also not taken down.
It’s hard to work out why Facebook took this decision. Below is the section on Sexual Violence and Exploitation from Facebook’s community standard guidelines explaining what it considers the type of material it would remove, with our emphasis added.
“We remove content that threatens or promotes sexual violence or exploitation. This includes the sexual exploitation of minors and sexual assault. To protect victims and survivors, we also remove photographs or videos depicting incidents of sexual violence and images shared in revenge or without permissions from the people in the images," it says.
The BBC's descriptions certainly do not sound as if permission was given to share the photos.
V3 asked Facebook for more explanation for its stance but had received no reply at the time of publication.
Bizarrely, though, Rishi Saha, the company's head of public policy, said when interviewed by the BBC that it is “really important that we investigate the groups”.
“If you're able to share the details of these groups with me I can work with my colleagues who do the investigations on these and make sure we're investigating them and we're removing the content that shouldn't be there," said Saha.
This is a great sentiment but ignores the fact that Facebook had already been informed of the groups and has failed to act. It will do little to appease most parents who will have concerns about how the site monitors such content.
The BBC also reported its findings to the Internet Watch Foundation (IWF), a leading charity tasked with tackling the menace of online paedophiles.
However, IWF CEO Susie Hargreaves defended Facebook by noting it has always taken an active role in tackling the spread of such content.
“The IWF counts Facebook among one of its most active members with a genuine commitment to do whatever they can to keep Facebook free of child sexual abuse imagery and if notified to remove this content as quickly as possible,” she said.
V3 asked the IWF if it was disappointed by Facebook’s decision not to remove the images and the groups but had received no reply at the time of publication.
One organisation that was quicker to accuse Facebook of not doing enough was Children's Commissioner Anne Longfield, who requested a meeting with Facebook's UK CEO to discuss the case.
“The BBC’s report into people using secret groups on Facebook to swap sexual content about children is of concern,” she said.
“I have asked the UK CEO to attend an urgent meeting with myself and the chief constable Simon Bailey, the national police lead for child protection and abuse investigation, to put a stop to the practice.”
This is not the first time Facebook has faced criticism about how it handles certain types of content, most notably when it refused to remove a gruesome beheading video from its site.
Facebook has often suggested that it has to draw a line somewhere on how it polices content as given its huge scale it would be impossible to monitor everything.
However, the BBC's findings, and Facebook's subsequent lack of action, suggest that the site still has a way to go before it achieves the sort of 'community standards' that deserve such a title.
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