Facebook Have Taken Further Responsibility for Criminal Content

Mobile Marketing Magazine
After Germany revealed that Facebook (and other platforms) could face hefty fines for failing to remove criminal or extremist content, the blue giants are now facing a potential prosecution in the UK. Yet again, a newspaper (The Times, in this case) has released a report citing the presence of illegal content on the platform, and it makes for pretty uncomfortable reading.

The paper found several instances of child pornography and extremist content on the site which had managed to slip through without getting flagged. As in the case with the investigation the BBC conducted, The Times reported the content, but even being reported some of it came back as safe.

This time, it's drawn sharp criticism from the NSCPCC, and several experts have warned that Facebook could well end up facing criminal charges for failing to deal with the content. Facebook's line with this kind of thing has classically been that they are a social media platform, not a media distributor, and thus the users take full responsibility for the content they put up.

Now, however, they have actually come forward and taken further responsibility for their ineffective moderation. In a statement thanking The Times for bringing the content to their attention, they went on to say that "It is clear that we can do better, and we'll continue to work hard to live up to the high standards people rightly expect of Facebook."

Following on from this, they've promised to strengthen their moderation to avoid anything like this happening in the future. They've been steadily developing more sophisticated image recognition AI which is capable of identifying and flagging content so that it can be forwarded on to investigators, an initiative that they're now aiming to speed up.

Of course, automated content tagging is what got them into this situation in the first place. Some would argue that no matter how sophisticated an AI system like this becomes, there will always be grey areas. More and more, the notion of illegal content lurking on social media is starting to make brands uncomfortable, Google are currently doing their best to try and deal with it but if a viable solution doesn't come along soon it could place the entire business structure of social media in peril.

Facebook are at a particular disadvantage in this sense. They've already been in hot water for over-estimating their audience engagement figures, and even though they're promising to prioritise issues like this, well done is better than well said. An advertiser exodus from Facebook might not be on the cards just yet, but this is strike two, and assurances of beefier AI aren't going to be enough by themselves.

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