Time for Facebook to face up to criminals

For years I avoided signing up to Facebook, my main objection being that I was too busy to learn what my neighbour was having for breakfast.

By The Newsroom
Wednesday, 17th February 2016, 8:12 am
Updated Wednesday, 17th February 2016, 9:15 am

But I gave in to pressure, largely because it was the cheapest way to keep up with loved ones and how else would the world know how happy I was with my lot? Sadly I am one of those folk who is wedded to his handheld device, gripped by a fear that I might miss a tantalising titbit from someone I have not seen since the days Big Brother meant George Orwell rather than dire television.

Undoubtedly social media has changed the world and is a source for good, even though some argue it is eroding family life and damaging industries such as mine, although I think to put the travails of printed news solely on the shoulders of social media is misguided.

But is Facebook too big? Can it possibly know what is going on in every nook and cranny of its network? The latest evidence suggests not as, according to a BBC investigation, they have uncovered paedophiles who brazenly indulge their vile shared interest through groups hosted by Facebook.

Facebook has a zero tolerance policy when it comes to perverts but journalists behind the latest investigation claimed that, despite flagging up the images via the platform’s own reporting facilities, staff at the social media giant responded they did not breach their ‘community standards’.

While no reasonable person would suggest Facebook is turning a blind eye, it does appear to suffer the affliction which dogs many large organisations: inconsistency with maybe just a hint of complacency.

For the second time in a week – the first following a probe into children below 13 using the site – Facebook declined an interview with the BBC after its journalists presented it with their evidence. Viewers want to hear both sides of any story and will make up their own minds if one party doesn’t play ball.

The people at Facebook must know that paedophiles will strive to stay one step ahead of the technology industry. It is how criminals work: they spend their days scheming and the public relies on the authorities and legitimate organisations to be wise to that.

If it wants to become one of the world’s great institutions, then it needs to start behaving like one.