The protection and privacy of young children on social media is on every parent’s mind, this is why a new case brought up by a 14 year-old girl is causing many to question the ways in which Facebook should police and prevent publication of inappropriate photos.
CNN reports about a 14 year-old girl from Northern Ireland who became a victim of exploitation when a man published nude photos of her on Facebook. Though the social media network’s legal team recently moved to dismiss the case brought against them, a judge has now ruled it will go to trial. A case like this can bring up many issues and ultimately mean big changes for the way Facebook polices image uploads in the future.
Facebook has argued that it removed the inappropriate image more than once, but the teen’s lawyers believe Facebook should have never allowed the photo to be published in the first place. And as the company has stated, they have Microsoft technology that allows them to detect material that may exploit children, flag it and prevent it from ever being uploaded. So what went wrong in this case?
So far, Facebook has not explained why the teen’s photos were not caught by the “PhotoDNA system” but they did explain that they take issues like this seriously. A spokesperson for Facebook says, “There's no place for this kind of content on Facebook and we remove it when it's reported to us.”
It seems that what this case may uncover is a lack of consistency in how the company deals with images deemed inappropriate. Facebook was recently criticized when they banned the iconic and tragic Vietnam War image of the nude “Napalm Girl” running from an attack. The company first said the image broke their ban on nude images of children, but then later decided to allow the photo on its site. Media law expert Paul Tweed explains how this case will deal with these inconsistencies and possibly force Facebook to adopt a better strategy. Tweed says, “Facebook has the tools to remove images promptly and block them, but it is not consistent...compare it with the case when Facebook took down a 1972 war photo last week and then self-policed to bring it back.”
What do you think of the way Facebook handles the removal of inappropriate images?
Do you think they should be held responsible for the publication of the 14 year old girl’s photos?