Leaked Facebook files reveal thousands of revenge porn reports

Leaked Facebook files reveal thousands of revenge porn reports

Facebook has faced thousands of potential cases of revenge porn and "sextortion" on the social network, an investigation based on leaked files has claimed.

Files allegedly shared with Facebook staff and seen by the Guardian newspaper claim that in January the social site had to assess nearly 54,000 cases of revenge pornography - 33 of which involved children.

According to the dossier, more than 14,000 Facebook accounts were disabled because of links to the form of sexual abuse.

It is part of a large collection of files which also detail how the social media giant attempts to police content on the site.

The files claim that in January, 51,300 potential cases of revenge pornography were reported to senior managers, as well 2,450 potential cases of sextortion, which it defines as attempts to extort money or more images from an individual.

The investigation, based on the leaked files, also claims Facebook has only recently banned users from posting images that mock people with illnesses and other health issues.

It claims the site also allows the sharing of "footage of physical bullying" of children under the age of seven as long as there is no caption attached to the post.

The moderation guidelines, which were leaked on Sunday, say that moderators should ignore footage of physical bullying "where no further commentary" is made.

It also instructs them to ignore images of the bullying of children under seven, even if it contains unkind commentary such as name-calling.

According to the investigation, the documents also say bullying posts should only be deleted if the content combines photos of individuals with abusive captions directly linked to them.

The moderator manual regards bullying as "an attack on private persons with the intent to upset of silence them", the investigation says, but Facebook is said to only define a private person as someone who is not a public figure.

Public figures include politicians, journalists and those with more than 100,000 followers on a social media account.

Facebook's policy on these figures is: "We want to exclude certain people who are famous or controversial in their own right and don't deserve our protection," the files say.

It says public figures such as pop stars can be protected only if posts about them contain their photo and a caption that is regarded as a "cruelty topic".

The social network has been criticised following the publication of the files for the complexity of its guidelines and the way it censors different content on the site.

Yvette Cooper, the former chair of the UK Home Affairs Select Committee, which published a report on social media in the last Parliament, said Facebook's current moderation techniques were "very wrong" and must "urgently change".

Monika Bickert, head of global policy management at Facebook, told the Guardian the site has a clear line with regards to moderating bullying and links to public figures.

"We allow more robust speech around public figures, but we still remove speech about public figures that crosses the line into hate speech, threats, or harassment.

"There are a number of criteria we use to determine who we consider a public figure."

Facebook has said it is using image-matching technology to try and prevent explicit content from being posted to the site, and that its policy on sexual content was a high priority.

The files on Facebook's policy say the site allows "moderate displays of sexuality" and judges sexualised language based on the level of detail it contains.

It says general sexual statements are permitted, but if a post adds extra detail - such as where or how sexual contact may happen - it should be deleted if reported.

Ms Bickert said: "We constantly review and improve our policies. These are complex areas but we are determined to get it right."

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