Facebook has come under fire for not doing enough to police secret groups that trade child porn on the network. And in a disturbing twist, Facebook seems to be making the problem worse. When BBC journalists discovered child porn on the network and sent those images to Facebook last week, the company reported the BBC to police in the UK for the distribution of illegal images.
The BBC has been investigating secret child porn rings on Facebook for years. And last week a representative from Facebook, Simon Milner, finally agreed to sit down for an interview about moderation tools on the network. There was just one condition: Facebook asked that the BBC reporters send the company images that they’d found on Facebook’s secret groups that the BBC would like to discuss.
The BBC journalists sent Facebook the images they had flagged from private Facebook groups. And not only did Facebook cancel the interview, the company reported the journalists to the police.
“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 & Online Protection Centre],” Facebook told Gizmodo in a statement. “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.”