In a rather Orwellian manner, after a group of BBC journalists flagged/highlighted and reported a number of pics posted on Facebook during an investigation on pedophile rings, pictures that clearly broke the social platform’s terms of service, they were reported to the police by guess who.
Yes, you got that right: the BBC journalists who were part of an investigation into secretive pedophile groups on Facebook, basically good Samaritans who flagged over 100 images of infringing content using the report button were themselves reported to the authorities by Facebook.
To make things even more surrealistic, Facebook removed just 18 pictures from the over 100 reported, despite the fact that they all contained nudity and sexual suggestive content, features clearly forbidden by Facebook’s Terms of Agreement.
The automated answer from Facebook was that the respective pictures which included teenagers in sexualized poses and even an image presumably taken from a child abuse video did not breach community standards.
BBC asked Facebook’s director of policy Simon Miller to do an interview for clearing up these issues. Miller agreed, provided that BBC will come up with examples of images that are breaching Facebook’s community standards.
The BBC complied with Simon Miller’s request but the interview was cancelled and the journalists were reported to the National Crime Agency after sending the requested pictures (taken from Facebook, right?).
Here’s what Simon Miller had to say about this bizarre incident:
“We have carefully reviewed the content referred to us and have now removed all items that were illegal or against our standards.
This content is no longer on our platform. We take this matter extremely seriously and we continue to improve our reporting and take-down measures.Facebook has been recognised as one of the best platforms on the internet for child safety.
David Jordan, BBC’s director of editorial policy commented :
“The fact that Facebook sent images that had been sent to them, that appear on their site, for their response about how Facebook deals with inappropriate images…the fact that they sent those on to the police seemed to me to be extraordinary.
“One can only assume that the Facebook executives were unwilling or certainly reluctant to engage in an interview or a debate about why these images are available on the Facebook site.”