Facebook has announced a new safety centre, claiming that “Safety is Facebook’s top priority“. But as I revealed just over a month ago, there are big problems with Facebook’s procedures for reporting abusive content on groups, pages and forums.

And here’s the proof. The content I complained about as part of that blog post is still live – comments which include racist language and false accusations of murder.

Accusing the wrong person of murder

Here’s a Facebook page called Baby P’s parents should be jailed for more than 12 years!

As I’d pointed out, Baby B’s father had nothing to do with his death – it was the mother and boyfriend who were found guilty of his murder.

That page – accusing an innocent father of the murder of his child – is still live, five weeks after I reported it. The screenshot shows I can’t report it again.

Screenshot saying I'd already submitted a report for this content

Racist language

Here’s a Facebook discussion board about rugby songs, featuring language like:

“Down in Alabama where the n****rs shovel coal another n****r shoved a shovel up a n*****s hole”.

This board, with its racist language, is still live, five weeks after I reported it.

Screenshot saying I'd already reported this

Blaming Kate McCann for her daughter’s death

Here’s a Facebook discussion accusing Kate McCann of murdering her daughter. One comment says:

I suspect so too… Anyway.. If Madeleine against all odds is found, I think it would be inappropiate to return her to her parents. What c***s!

This comment – agreeing that Mrs McCann is guilty of her daughter’s death – is still live, five weeks after I reported it.

Screenshot saying I'd already reported this

Accusing an innocent man of being a child murderer

Here’s a Facebook page that accuses an innocent man of really being the killer of Jamie Bulger. The comment says (I’ve masked the innocent man’s name):

D**** C****** is the new name of john venables. He lives in fleetwood!!!!!! The sick bloke that killed that younge lil boy. 

This comment – accusing an innocent man of being child killer Jon Venables – is still live, five weeks after I reported it.

Screenshot saying I'd already reported this content

Facebook needs to tighten up its procedures

Most of the attention on Facebook lately has been around whether or not to include a CEOP panic button.

But as these examples show, Facebook has wider problems than this. I identified three key flaws with its reporting procedure:

  • Some content that’s impossible to flag.
  • No way to explain why some content is inappropriate, which means Facebook has to work it out itself.
  • Confusing error messages that tell you that you can’t report content, even though you can.

Nothing in Facebook’s latest announcement addresses these problems.