Facebook is facing criticism from all quarters after it reported BBC journalists to the police for providing examples of inappropriate images that it had failed to remove from its site.
The BBC was carrying out an investigation into paedophile groups on Facebook, during which it used the website's report button to flag 100 images which appeared to break the social network's so-called guidelines, including pages explicitly for men with a sexual interest in images of under-16s in sexualised poses.
Just 18 of the 100 images were removed because, according to automated replies from Facebook, the rest did not breach "community standards".
BBC, naturally, alerted Facebook's director of policy Simon Milner about the infringing material, and he agreed to an interview on the condition that the broadcaster provided examples of the material that it had reported but had not been removed by moderators.
Without informing the BBC that it planned to do so, Facebook then reported the journalists involved to the National Crime Agency (NCA).
"It is against the law for anyone to distribute images of child exploitation," the social network said in a statement.
"When the BBC sent us such images we followed our industry's standard practice and reported them to Ceop [the Child Exploitation & Online Protection Centre]."
Facebook also cancelled its promised interview with the BBC.
Facebook has been widely criticised for its actions, with many thinking that the firm should perhaps turn its attention to tackling the inappropriate images in question, rather than the do-gooder journalists flagging them to it.
The National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (NSPCC) spoke out about the social network's move, saying: "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."
Damian Collins, chairman of the Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee, slammed Facebook's response as "astonishing".
"The complaint was made about the images, nothing was done. The BBC was asked to send the images in and then they referred it to the police, when it was quite clearly information that was being brought to Facebook's attention that they wanted Facebook to act on," he said.
"I think that's an astonishing response."
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