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.
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.
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.
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.
Facebook needs to tighten up its procedures
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.