Facebook under fire for inappropriate survey question

Facebook is under fire
Chiang Mai/Thailand 2017: A man holds Apple iPhone 6S with facebook application on the screen. Photo: Worawee, Bigstock

Facebook has been accused of trying to ‘normalise’ paedophilia after it asked a very strange question in a survey sent to select users.

The social media giant says that they created the survey in an attempt to understand how people believed that their privacy and other policies were generated. However, the final execution of the survey appears to have gone down the wrong path.

The question is based on the notion of an adult male asking an under-aged girl for explicit sexual images, stating;

“In thinking of an ideal world where you could set Facebook’s policies, how would you handle the following: a private message in which an adult man asks a 14-year-old girl for sexual pictures”.

There were four potential answers to the question and they were as follows;

  1. This content should be allowed on Facebook and I would not mind seeing it.
  2. This content should be allowed on Facebook but I don’t want to see it.
  3. This content should not be allowed on Facebook and no one should be able to see it.
  4. I have no preference on this topic.

One user posted the survey on Twitter and it immediately received complaints. Facebook was swift to pull the survey from circulation.

A similar question regarding the same scenario was also asked regarding how Facebook determined what content should be on its site and the overall policy implementation process with answers ranging from experts deciding to Facebook itself or even its users making up the policy.

Much of the backlash surrounding the questions focused on the fact that there was no option for a form of child protection or law enforcement to be brought into action.

In a post on Twitter, the VP for product management at Facebook, Guy Robson, posted saying that they regularly have law authorities involved in the relevant situations and that “It shouldn’t have been a part of the survey”.

Facebook followed up this tweet by reiterating that it still holds a strong position on child pornography and paedophilia in an official statement. The statement said that ever since Facebook began they have prohibited any form of child grooming and that there was no intention of this ever changing.

This latest poor media showing for Facebook follows months of user disappointment with changes surrounding their feeds and the usability of the site. Experts say that Facebook is taking a long-term approach in this area.