Facebook 'fails' to remove sexual images of children and reports BBC to police for raising issue

Rozina Sabur | Telegraph --

 Facebook has come under fire for failing to remove sexualised pictures of children from its website - and then reporting the journalists who brought it to their attention to the police.

Damian Collins, chairman of the Culture, Media and Sport Committee, expressed "grave doubts" over the social media giant's moderation system.

The issue came to light following a BBC investigation in which it used Facebook's "report button" to highlight sexual images but found more than 80 per cent were not removed, with an automated response saying they did not breach "community standards".

The images included under-16s in sexualised poses, pages aimed at paedophiles and an image appearing to be taken from a child abuse video.

Among the items not permitted under Facebook's community standards is "sexually suggestive content".

When examples of the images were sent to Facebook to highlight the issue, the company instead reported the journalists who brought them to their attention to police for sharing the pictures.

It subsequently issued a statement: "It is against the law for anyone to distribute images of child exploitation."

Mr Collins said it was extraordinary that journalists had been reported to the authorities when it was trying to "help clean up the network".

Facebook's rules also forbid sex offenders from having accounts but five convicted paedophiles were found to have profiles which it failed to remove when it was brought to their attention, the BBC said.

Mr Collins said: "I find it very disturbing, I find that content unacceptable.

"I think it raises the question of how can users make effective complaints to Facebook about content that is disturbing, shouldn't be on the site, and have confidence that that will be acted upon."

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