Ireland's largest retail representative body suspends partnership with Facebook

Update 11.30am:

Retail Excellence, Ireland’s largest retail representative body, has suspended its partnership with Facebook following the expose of practises and content moderation on their online platform by Channel 4 Dispatches programme which aired last night.

The move comes as it emerged Facebook are set to be called before an Oireachtas Committee after an investigation found that the social network told staff not to remove violent content.

In a statement this morning Retail Excellence said they had partnered with Facebook to provide training to retailers to enhance their digital strategies through their platform and that the next Retail Excellence – Facebook training course was scheduled to take place next week.

The group also said Facebook were also expected to address delegates at Retail Excellence eCommerce Conference on September 19.

CEO of Retail Excellence, Lorraine Higgins, said that based on the revelations from Channel 4 Dispatches documentary last evening, the group have decided to suspend our partnership with Facebook until further notice.

“As a representative body which promotes standards of excellence amongst retailers it would be wrong for us to continue our partnership where they have fallen short. On that basis, we will not be working with Facebook until we are satisfied their policies have been overhauled regarding the posting of violent and abusive content for commercial gain”.

“We will not be commenting further,” the statement concluded.

Earlier: Facebook to be called before Oireachtas over failure to remove violent content

Facebook is set to be called before an Oireachtas Committee after an investigation found that the social network told staff not to remove violent content.

A reporter went undercover at Facebook offices in the UK and Dublin for a Channel 4 investigation - and found that extreme content, including assaults on children and images of self-harm, all remained on the site - despite violating the company's guidelines.

Fianna Fáil's communications spokesperson Timmy Dooley says that he plans to call Facebook bosses in front of an Oireachtas Committee.

While Communications Minister Denis Naughten says that it raises serious questions for the company: "First of all, I haven't seen the Channel 4 programme, as you know I am in New York, but from what I understand it raises serious questions for the company in respect of its content review process.

"I expect to get a briefing when I return to Ireland from my officials, so I'm not going to expand any further on it but these are very serious reports."

Digital Desk

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