Facebook accused of not removing illegal material in the U.K.

Posted Apr 13, 2017 by Arthur Weinreb
An investigation by The Times of London revealed illegal terroristic and child abuse content appeared on Facebook and moderators did not remove it after it was flagged. Evidence of the alleged illegal content has been turned over to the police.
The News Integrity Initiative will launch with $14 million from Facebook  the Ford Foundation  Mozil...
The News Integrity Initiative will launch with $14 million from Facebook, the Ford Foundation, Mozilla and others will work to combat the spread of "fake news" and improve public understanding of journalism
Justin TALLIS, AFP/File
The Times did an investigation to locate what is alleged to be illegal content on Facebook and then reported it to the social media company. The Times said moderators sometimes let the content stay, saying it did not breach Facebook’s “community standards.”
Examples of content found by the newspaper and alleged to be illegal are ISIS beheading videos, violent child pornography cartoons, what appears to be a video of a child being sexually assaulted and postings glorifying terrorist acts such as the recent attacks in London and Egypt.
The above content was reported to Facebook by Times’ reporters that discovered it. Facebook only removed the alleged illegal content after The Times contacted the company to advise them of their upcoming story and asked for comment.
Not only was the content left up after being flagged, but Facebook’s algorithms even promoted some of the content by suggesting users join groups that posted the offending content. A Times reporter, using a fake Facebook account, ended up befriending more than 100 ISIS supporters and joined groups that cater to pedophiles.
Julian Knowles, Q.C., a lawyer who specializes in these types of matters, examined the content discovered by The Times. He said much of the content is illegal and Facebook moderators act on behalf of the company. Once the are made aware of this content and refuse to take it down, Facebook becomes a party to the offences of publishing and distributing illegal material.
MP Yvette Cooper, chair of the home affairs select committee, told The Times the government should look at a German proposal to fine social media companies that are informed of illegal material but do not quickly remove it.
Facebook said “sorry.” Justin Osofsky, Facebook’s VP of global operations, said the offending posts have no place on Facebook and have now all been removed. The VP apologized on behalf of the company. He said the company will do better and live up to the high standards people expect from Facebook. Osofsky also thanked The Times for bringing this to Facebook’s attention.
The Times has given the results of its investigation to the National Crime Agency and the London Metropolitan Police. The Met is refusing to confirm or deny whether Facebook will be investigated for possible criminal activity.