BBC warns Facebook about child porn posts, Facebook reports BBC to cops

The BBC found itself in the no-good-deed-goes-unpunished category thanks to Facebook. Granted, the BBC was investigating for an article to see if Facebook had improved its system for removing child porn from the site after such images are reported. But trying to help “clean up” Facebook should not be rewarded by the social network reporting you to the police.

Using Facebook’s “report button,” BBC journalists reported 100 images that should not be allowed on the platform according to Facebook’s guidelines that claim “nudity or other sexually suggestive content” is not permitted on the site. The images included a still from a child porn video, under-16s in sexual poses and others along the same vein. Of those, only 18 were initially removed. The other 82, Facebook said, did not violate “community standards.”

Additionally, Facebook prohibits convicted sex offenders from having accounts; the BBC said it reported five convicted pedophiles, but Facebook failed to remove their profiles.

BBC’s investigation was a follow-up from another in 2016 about Facebook’s moderation system; the BBC had found that pedophiles were using secret groups to exchange obscene images of children.

This time around, Facebook’s director of policy, Simon Milner, agreed to an interview “on condition the BBC provided examples of the material that it had reported, but had not been removed by moderators.”

The BBC did so, but was reported to the UK’s National Crime Agency as a consequence.

According to the BBC, Facebook canceled the interview and issued an statement about it being illegal for anyone to distribute images of child exploitation.

David Jordan, BBC’s director of editorial policy, said, “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,” he added.

After it virtually hit the fan, Facebook issued the following statement to the BBC:

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.

It is against the law for anyone to distribute images of child exploitation.

When the BBC sent us such images we followed our industry’s standard practice and reported them to CEOP [Child Exploitation and Online Protection Center].

We also reported the child exploitation images that had been shared on our own platform. This matter is now in the hands of the authorities.

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