THERE'S FAUX PAS, then there's abject stupidity. Facebook did the latter this week, when it accidentally asked its users what they thought about child grooming.
Facebook ran a survey asking its users how they would handle grooming behaviour and content if they encountered it, the Guardian reports.
"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," the survey question asked.
It then presented options ranging from the declaring that such content shouldn't be allowed on the social media site, to noting one of approval and a nonchalance to spotting such content.
Given child grooming is most certainly illegal, it seems disturbing that Facebook would have an option for a positive reaction to encountering such a situation. There was no option to notify the police or at least alert an admin, which one would expect, if not best practice in such a situation.
And asked this … and I'm like, er wait it making it secret the best Facebook can offer here? Not, y'know, calling the police? pic.twitter.com/t2UZuKalfk— Jonathan Haynes (@JonathanHaynes) March 4, 2018
Perhaps, Facebook is working a form of a sting operation to get would-be groomers to reveal themselves, but we sadly suspect its simply a survey that's had little or no thought put into it.
The survey also contained other questions addressing content that celebrates extremism and how important it was to participants that Facebook's policies are transparent. While the latter seems a sensible question, the other parts seem bleedingly obvious and are not really questions Facebook should need to ask.
"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," Facebook said in a statement.
"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."
Freedom of speech and expression is all well and good but there's a lot of people who exploit that or use social platforms for immoral and illegal activities. When it comes to child exploitation, abuse, and promoting acts of terror should be clamped down on with no questions asked.
As a private company, Facebook can easily dictate its rules with abandon; if people don't like them they can zark-off to Twitter. So having such a survey seems pointless, embarrassing and a bit disturbing. µ
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