A video of a young child being sexually abused was shared 16,000 times on Facebook and “liked” 4,000 times before it was removed, it emerged yesterday.
The child pornography made it on to thousands of people’s personal news feeds across the world late on Thursday night and in the early hours of Friday without explanation.
Facebook immediately removed the material once it became aware of the issue, but by that stage it was already circulating on other networks as people had taken screengrabs from the footage and posted censored versions to warn others of its existence.
Numerous people who had received the video took to Twitter to express their outrage at its content and their shock that it had somehow managed to make its way onto their sites. One wrote how she was scared to be associated with such material as she had no idea how it had got on her account.
It is believed the material only circulated for a matter of hours but it was at a time when web traffic was heavy, particularly in the US.
A Facebook spokesperson said: “Nothing is more important to Facebook than the safety of the people that use our site, and this material has no place on Facebook.
“We have zero tolerance for child pornography being uploaded onto Facebook and are extremely aggressive in preventing and removing child exploitive content. We are pleased that this material was reported to us quickly enabling its swift removal.”
The spokesman said every Facebook user who passed on the video had been warned against sharing explicit films.
However, the fact the material spread so easily has caused concern.
Facebook uses Microsoft’s Photo- DNA to filter out such images and material.
Developed for a US centre for missing and exploited children, PhotoDNA creates a “blueprint” of an inappropriate or offensive image and can search through billions of other images to locate photos with similarly inappropriate features.
It is meant to stop such material being shared.
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