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Facebook says survey that asked questions about child predators was a "mistake"

By midian182 ยท 7 replies
Mar 6, 2018
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  1. Facebook has made plenty of mistakes in the past, but that hasn’t stopped it wading into another disaster. Over the weekend, the social network sent a survey to some users that asked whether men who request sexual pictures from children should be allowed on the site.

    Guardian digital editor Jonathan Haynes was one of the users who received the survey, which contained the question: "There are a wide range of topics and behaviors that appear on Facebook. In thinking about an ideal world where you could set Facebook's policies, how would you handle the following: a private message in which an adult man asks a 14 year old girl for sexual pictures."

    Response options included “this content should not be allowed on Facebook, and no one should be able to see it” and “this content should be allowed on Facebook, and I would not mind seeing it.”

    A follow-up question asked who should decide the rules when it comes to policing such content. Responses included Facebook deciding on its own, Facebook with advice from external experts, external experts on their own, or Facebook users by voting.

    The platform has been criticised over the questions and for not including an option where it contacts law enforcement or child protection services to inform them of the illegal act.

    Facebook said the survey was designed to get feedback from people about its community standards and the types of content they would find most concerning on Facebook. But it still admitted the questions were a “mistake.”

    “We run surveys to understand how the community thinks about how we set policies. But this kind of activity is and will always be completely unacceptable on FB. We regularly work with authorities if identified. It shouldn't have been part of this survey. That was a mistake,” said Facebook’s vice president of product, Guy Rosen.

    In a statement to The Guardian, Facebook said: "We understand this survey refers to offensive content that is already prohibited on Facebook and that we have no intention of allowing so have stopped the survey. We have prohibited child grooming on Facebook since our earliest days; we have no intention of changing this and we regularly work with the police to ensure that anyone found acting in such a way is brought to justice."

    As part of an investigation into pedophiles by the BBC in 2016, the UK broadcaster used Facebook’s report button to flag 100 images that appeared to break the company’s content guidelines. Just 18 of these were removed, and after asking reporters to send in examples of the material, Facebook reported the journalists to the UK’s National Crime Agency for complying.

    Permalink to story.

  2. QuantumPhysics

    QuantumPhysics TS Evangelist Posts: 1,237   +894

    Social Media is a lot like a public bus or train.
    We literally ride right next to "bad people", "evil people" sociopaths and psychopaths and have no idea about it until someone actually opens their mouth and announces how bad they are.

    Social Media gives us a chance to get to know our neighbors under the warm blanket of anonymity.

    But until they actually break the law, they are just civilians with the same rights as you or I.
  3. havok585

    havok585 TS Addict Posts: 201   +58

    good analogy ^
  4. BabyFaceLee

    BabyFaceLee TS Booster Posts: 127   +44

    Indeed so, but asking all the people on the bus if they feel it's OK for one of the passengers to request sexual pictures of one of the underage young people on the bus is such a monumentally crass question that only Facebook would consider it appropriate to ask.
  5. seeprime

    seeprime TS Guru Posts: 382   +409

    And claiming that it was a mistake, after they got caught, is pretty pathetic.
    SirChocula and Tanstar like this.
  6. psycros

    psycros TS Evangelist Posts: 2,710   +2,509

    I'll say it since everyone else is either not thinking it through or simply unwilling to be the first:

    Throughout much of the world, behavior that most westerners would consider pedophilia is often acceptable. Facebook is a global company and is heavily focused on growth markets where society's behavioral standards can be quite different than ours. Not only that, there's a huge schizophrenia among social liberals even in the US and EU regarding what you can shame someone for. That's the world we live in and the world FB is trying to continue growing in. Ultimately its always about the bottom line even when a company pays regular lip service to various causes and sociopolitical agendas. If FB can get Americans, Canadians, UK'ers and Europeans to say its not the company's place to be the morality police it greatly reduces FB's burden in places with more lenient standards. I have no doubt that Zuckerburg lays awake some nights wondering who is gonna be raging against him the next day about some inflammatory conversation or the like. You have entire movements that routinely try to ban people from social media, effectively trying to get a company to violate the target's civil rights. Who would want to deal with that when their only real goal is getting richer? I know I'd be doing everything I could to abdicate the responsibility, particularly if I was the de facto standard that the sheep-like masses can't seem to live without.
  7. wiyosaya

    wiyosaya TS Evangelist Posts: 3,963   +2,273

    Leave it to you to make this a political argument - or should I say - a geopolitical argument. Or are you making this an argument about corporate profits?

    Where does corporate greed stop - at FB having no ethical standard because some country decides it is OK to exploit children who are essentially powerless? Should we say, "OK FB, go ahead and endorse slavery by allowing people to post pictures, publicly, of people obviously in slavery because there are some people out there that engage in slavery"? Or perhaps we should say, "OK FB, go ahead and endorse terrorism by allowing obviously terrorist content."?

    And all in the name of making more money. That's the ticket. IMO, there is no excuse for condoning behavior that could be considered unethical.

    Personally, I highly doubt that Zuckerburg lies awake at night worrying about this type of thing. Why? Because he has more than enough personal wealth to retire happily.
    Last edited: Mar 6, 2018
  8. Danny101

    Danny101 TS Guru Posts: 767   +292

    Could have been a setup

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