Facebook’s Uphill Battle Vs. Child Pornography

By David Cohen 

The uphill battle that Facebook faces on a daily basis to curb inappropriate content such as child pornography was brought to the forefront again in a report by WND about its continuing presence on the social network.

WND created fake Facebook profiles and was able to access “dozens” of child-porn images after friending pedophiles and predators who did little to mask their intentions, listing interests such as thirteen, Lolita, Justin Bieber, incest, and PHTC (preteen hardcore pornography), and activities such as “receiving nude pics.”

Facebook is not sitting idly by, having implemented measures including last year’s adoption of Microsoft’s PhotoDNA technology to identify and remove child-porn images.

The company said in a statement to ZDNet’s Friending Facebook blog:

Nothing is more important to Facebook than the safety of the people who use our site, and this material has absolutely no place on Facebook. We have zero tolerance for child pornography being uploaded onto Facebook and are extremely aggressive in preventing and removing child-exploitive content. We scan every photo that is uploaded to the site using PhotoDNA to ensure that this illicit material can’t be distributed, and we report all instances of exploitative content to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. We’ve built complex technical systems that either block the creation of this content, including in private groups, or flag it for quick review by our team of investigations professionals.

We’ve worked with the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children and the New York State Attorney General’s Office in the U.S., as well as the Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre in the U.K., to use known databases of child-exploitive material to improve our detection and bring those responsible to justice.

We feel we’ve created a much safer environment on Facebook than exists offline, where people can share this disgusting material in the privacy of their own homes without anyone watching. However, we’re constantly refining and improving our systems and processes and building upon our relationships with NCMEC and law-enforcement agencies specializing in child protection to create an even safer space.

Yet despite these efforts, the WND investigation turned up the following list of groups and likes, which were still active at the time of its post Sunday:

  • Kidsex Young
  • Preteen Lesbians
  • 10-17 Teen Bisexual
  • Incest (2,119 likes as of April 19)
  • PTHC
  • 12 to 13 Boy Sex
  • Young Gay Pics and Movie Trade
  • Gangbanging
  • Hot and Teen Lesbians
  • Bl-wjob Fan Page (1,662 likes April 20, mostly girls, some young-looking teens)
  • Young Lesbians
  • Teen Sex
  • Love Little Kids
  • I.ncest Forever
  • Menfor Babygirls
  • Sex Little Girls
  • Nude Teen
  • F–k Young Girls
  • F–k Young Boys

It should be noted that WND makes no bones about its agenda, describing its post as “the first of a four-part series examining the dark side of Facebook.” Does Facebook have a dark side? Of course: It would be impossible for a community of 900 million-plus users to not have one. A less-slanted focus would have been a look at the difficulty of policing a user base of such massive scale. It would be misguided to believe that Facebook has not taken the issue of child pornography seriously, or to question its efforts.

Readers: Are you disturbed that despite constant monitoring by Facebook, inappropriate content such as that unearthed by the WND investigation continues to find its way through the cracks?

Images courtesy of WND.