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Facebook could face child pornography charges in Britain

Now might be a great time to develop an “unlike” button

(NationalSentinel) Crime Online: Officials at Facebook were allegedly told that the site was hosting images of child pornography and terrorist content, but refused to take it down. Now, the company could be looking at criminal charges in Great Britain.

As reported by The Times of London:

The social media company failed to take down dozens of images and videos that were “flagged” to its moderators, including one showing an Islamic State beheading, several violent paedophilic cartoons, a video of an apparent sexual assault on a child and propaganda posters glorifying recent terrorist attacks in London and Egypt. Instead of removing the content, moderators said that the posts did not breach the site’s “community standards”.

Facebook’s algorithms even promoted some of the offensive material by suggesting that users join groups and profiles that had published it.

A leading QC who reviewed the content said that, in his view, much of it was illegal under British law. Facebook was at risk of committing a criminal offence because it had been made aware of the illegal images and had failed to take them down, he said.

Facebook made a profit of $10 billion in 2016 in large part by selling targeted ads to its nearly 2 billion monthly users.

The company has been criticised for allowing jihadists, criminals and paedophiles to thrive on the site, in part encouraged by software that permits them to discover “friends” and groups with similar proclivities.

“In my view, many of the images and videos identified by The Timesare illegal,” Julian Knowles, QC, said. “One video appears to depict a sexual assault on a child. That would undoubtedly breach UK indecency laws. The video showing a beheading is very likely to be a publication that encourages terrorism.

“I would argue that the actions of people employed by Facebook to keep up or remove reported posts should be regarded as the actions of Facebook as a corporate entity. If someone reports an illegal image to Facebook and a senior moderator signs off on keeping it up, Facebook is at risk of committing a criminal offence because the company might be regarded as assisting or encouraging its publication and distribution.”

Now might be a good time for Facebook to develop an “unlike” button.

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