That’s a rather blunt and shocking headline, but it’s sadly true. Well done to the BBC for blowing the lid on this. As I’ve mentioned time and time and time again, big social websites couldn’t give a flying fig about you or your kids. They don’t. I’m sorry, they don’t. They might say that they do, and they might have “report” buttons on posts, but they’ll either not act quickly enough, they won’t agree with you, they won’t have enough staff to respond or they’ll simply do nothing at all.
Yesterday the BBC ran this story about Facebook groups – some obvious, some not – which publish pictures of suggestive pictures of children. Within these groups you’ll find a community of peodophiles who post sickeningly approving comments under each photo. They’ll add their own. Some taken with secret cameras, some lifted from school websites, some taken from Facebook posts and perhaps even pictures you’ve shared on your profile.
The internet has always had this problem, but we now live in a society where sharing our lives is sometimes seen as part of a daily routine, but there’s always this expectation that “someone” is keeping an eye things. You’d think that they would act quickly and decisively on these repugnant Facebook groups. Sadly, if there is a “someone”, they don’t always agree with you. When the BBC reported the groups, images and the comments underneath, Facebook deemed nearly all of them to be absolutely fine. Here’s the YouTube version of the report, but I also urge you to watch the item as it was shown on TV last night.
The BBC has the ability to actually tackle the Facebook PR guy directly. This after they were fobbed off by Facebook, who didn’t want to talk to BBC News. For the rest of us we only have that Facebook “report” button, and we’re reliant on the Facebook opinion of what’s right and what’s wrong.
I know I’m always banging this drum, but be careful what you share online. I hate to say it, but taking a picture of your kids at the start of September in their new uniforms (as an example) could end up in groups like this if your security settings aren’t screwed down.
However, I’m sorry – but regardless of the Facebook / Instagram / Twitter / Snapchat security settings – once that photo has left your device, you’ve lost control. You’re relying on some faceless company that really only has their ad revenue and user numbers at heart.
Always be wary. Never assume some magical “moderator” has the same moral compass as you. Never assume it’s safe and never assume it’s secure.