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Facebook Asks Users: Should We Allow Men To Ask Children For Sexual Images? (theguardian.com) 386

Alex Hern, writing for The Guardian: Facebook has admitted it was a "mistake" to ask users whether paedophiles requesting sexual pictures from children should be allowed on its website. On Sunday, the social network ran a survey for some users asking how they thought the company should handle grooming behaviour. "There are a wide range of topics and behaviours that appear on Facebook," one question began. "In thinking about 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." The options available to respondents ranged from "this content should not be allowed on Facebook, and no one should be able to see it" to "this content should be allowed on Facebook, and I would not mind seeing it." A second question asked who should decide the rules around whether or not the adult man should be allowed to ask for such pictures on Facebook. Options available included "Facebook users decide the rules by voting and tell Facebook" and "Facebook decides the rules on its own."
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Facebook Asks Users: Should We Allow Men To Ask Children For Sexual Images?

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  • For those who answered "this content should be allowed on Facebook, and I would not mind seeing it" to that specific question, they immediately saw Chris Hansen pop up on the "people you may know" list.
    • Re:It's a trap! (Score:5, Insightful)

      by dbialac ( 320955 ) on Monday March 05, 2018 @12:46PM (#56210651)
      And it's sexist. There are plenty of female pedophiles.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward

        Not flamebait! Just look at all the Female Teacher Sleeps With Student articles that are out there.... And it isn't just women sleeping with highschool boys; there have been incidents where women have been sleeping with highschool girls as well.

        • by cayenne8 ( 626475 ) on Monday March 05, 2018 @01:18PM (#56210871) Homepage Journal

          Not flamebait! Just look at all the Female Teacher Sleeps With Student articles that are out there....

          Geez, WHERE were all these teachers back when "I" was in school?!?!

          I mean, the ones we're seeing on TV are *HOT* too!!!

          Frankly, I dunno how they're getting caught....I mean, what boy in his right mind would be turning in his hot chick teacher that he's banging???

          Man, if that has been me back in JH or HS....I'd been a hero amongst my peers....

          Man...kids don't know how good they have it today....

          • "I'd been a hero amongst my peers"... and you don't understand how they're getting caught?
            • "I'd been a hero amongst my peers"... and you don't understand how they're getting caught?

              Well, none of my friends back in the day would have snitched me out either....

              REmember, friends help you move..

              .REAL friends help you move bodies....

      • Indeed. I only came to this entry to see if anyone else had made this same observation.

        LK

      • by mysidia ( 191772 )

        And it's sexist. There are plenty of female pedophiles.

        It doesn't matter.... statistics could probably tell them which kind of situation is likely to be a more common issue.

        I think surveying users should be fine, BUT regardless of the survey results, this is illegal behavior, and Facebook needs to report it to law enforcement and attempt to mitigate the damage if it occurs.

    • If only US megacorps had a sense of humour.

      • If only US megacorps had a sense of humour.

        They are primitive organisms. They have developed a rapacious hunger, ferocious attack skills, excellent camouflage, and the best know their way around their primary feeding grounds - the court system. Even so, they haven't developed anything like social awareness, shame, or a conscience. They won't develop a sense of humor any time in the foreseeable future... if they don't go extinct. That's something else they lack - an awareness of the fragility of their environment.

  • No Facebook (Score:4, Interesting)

    by XSportSeeker ( 4641865 ) on Monday March 05, 2018 @12:37PM (#56210575)

    Actual crimes should not be allowed on Facebook.
    Is it that hard to get?

    • Re:No Facebook (Score:5, Insightful)

      by TheRaven64 ( 641858 ) on Monday March 05, 2018 @01:00PM (#56210763) Journal
      In this case, it actually is. If someone posts something in a public place saying 'hey, any underage girls / boys want to send me naked pictures?' then it's pretty easy to take down the post. But presumably pedophiles are not doing that, they're sending direct messages. Is it therefore acceptable for Facebook to inspect every direct message (i.e. no end-to-end encryption on WhatsApp anymore) and block anything illegal? Should they just disable end-to-end encryption for under-18s and block illegal content? Can they even legally do that, without running afoul of various minor-protection laws in different jurisdictions? Should they then warn you that you're talking to an under-18 (and would this help pedophiles identify targets)?
  • by OrangeTide ( 124937 ) on Monday March 05, 2018 @12:38PM (#56210581) Homepage Journal

    I thought this would have already decided by federal law? It doesn't seem like it is even up to Facebook or its userbase.

    • I thought this would have already decided by federal law? It doesn't seem like it is even up to Facebook or its userbase.

      Facebook's customers are international and, unfortunately, pedophilia is not universally banned.

      What's not legal in the US may be perfectly allowed, and even considered normal, in other parts of the world.

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by gnick ( 1211984 )

        What's not legal in the US may be perfectly allowed, and even considered normal, in other parts of the world.

        I have no problem with enforcing US pedophilia standards on all FB users regardless of the laws where they're located. Just because it may be legal doesn't mean FB has to allow it.

        • by Plugh ( 27537 )

          He's getting rather old, but he's a good mouse.

          Nice sig! I don't know why I call him Gerold

      • by Rob Riggs ( 6418 )

        Facebook's customers are international and, unfortunately, pedophilia is not universally banned.

        Or universally defined.

  • by Richard Dick Head ( 803293 ) on Monday March 05, 2018 @12:39PM (#56210593) Homepage Journal
    I disagree, it is a great question. They can more closely monitor the perverts who answered "this content should be allowed on Facebook, and I would not mind seeing it."
    • I can understand the 'and I wouldn't mind seeing it' bit: If pedophiles are going to be asking children for naked pictures, then doing so where other adults can see gives more of an opportunity to explain to the child why it's a really bad idea to cooperate and to forward the request to law enforcement. I'd much rather would-be child molesters used Facebook to talk to children than something like Signal or Telegram.
      • by dcw3 ( 649211 )

        So, how do you plan to deal with that child when Mr. Perv offers to pay them, or give them something that mommy and daddy won't? Sure, teach your kids, but sheesh, don't give them access or you'll be asking for trouble.

  • by H3lldr0p ( 40304 ) on Monday March 05, 2018 @12:40PM (#56210601) Homepage

    Seriously. How? How did anyone at any level of the company think this was a good idea for long enough that it made it out into public view?

    Talk about being asleep at the wheel. How many in management are now going to claim ignorance when confronted with this?

    • by DogDude ( 805747 ) on Monday March 05, 2018 @12:44PM (#56210635)
      It's a terrible company run by terrible people because it can be. The product that they sell is given to them for free by billions of really, really dumb people. Any company that makes money this easily isn't necessarily going to be run by the best and brightest because it's simple not necessary. I would imagine that even the Trump family couldn't fuck up Facebook if anybody were insane enough to let them run it.
      • by swb ( 14022 )

        I'm not sure it's fair to label every Facebook user as dumb. I think a lot of people use it more or less reasonably and that the base concept (minus timeline manipulation, ads, fake news, personal information selling, etc) isn't unreasonable.

        I think most people just don't realize how badly Facebook trolls/manipulates them, especially people who were relatively early adopters and may be biased by "early" Facebook memories when it was a much less manipulative platform.

        My hope is that Facebook can't figure ou

    • by Kohath ( 38547 )

      I don't understand the surprise. Do you think Facebook management goes to church on sundays and PTA meetings at their kids' school?

      In the UK, families apparently let their daughters be passed around by groups of foreign men, with the knowledge and tolerance of the police. Facebook might not be that progressive yet, but maybe they're working on it.

      When did Facebook ever actually do the right thing? If they started doing the right thing, wouldn't that be the surprise?

    • It happened to set up the follow up questions about what the response should be. That's relevant and valuable information for Facebook. The one question, er, in question, was not the only one asked, it was merely exposition.
  • by lucaiaco ( 2652295 ) on Monday March 05, 2018 @12:44PM (#56210633)
    The implicature is that if an adult woman asks for an explicit picture of a boy or a girl it is OK.
    • by houghi ( 78078 )

      I came to say the same thing. Reminds me that it is ok that some lesbian place could refuse me because of my gender.
      ASnd talking about being PC. Two Black people (That is what they are called in Belgium) where talking today how they disliked a certain group of Africans due to the way theu spoke English. I just said aloud that if I would say the same thing I would be called a racist.
      Being a (white) foreigner and they are (black) Belgians you should see their faces when I say I hate foreigners. The confusion

    • Research the phrase "protected class", which appears to comprise about 75% of the US population.

    • by OzPeter ( 195038 )

      The implicature is that if an adult "woman" asks for an explicit picture of a boy or a girl it is OK.

      FTFY.

    • by DogDude ( 805747 )
      1. "implicature" is not a word.
      2. You probably meant to use the word "implication", but even that word doesn't make sense in this context.
      • 1. "implicature" is not a word. 2. You probably meant to use the word "implication", but even that word doesn't make sense in this context.

        1. Yes, it is.
        2. No, I didn't.

    • Not really. This is an example of a loaded question that's mean to get a specific response.

      To your point, people do tend to find adult women pursuing underage boys to be less offensive than adult men pursuing underage girls, so phrasing the question with the genders reversed would probably result in a fewer people saying it was offensive.

      The person who wrote the question most likely chose what they felt was the most offensive example in order to sway people toward giving the response that it is not accepta

  • Ask survey questions whose answers you already know. Get cover for policies you were going to make anyway, if you haven't already.

    I'm not saying it's good or bad, I'm just saying I think this is what FB is doing.

  • You don't need permission to do the right thing. However you should inform others that you are doing such actions, to help prevent mistakes from being made.

  • It's kind of funny watching this vast social media platform, which has grown up without any moral guidance whatsoever, stumble all over itself trying to find some sort of social conscience at this late stage.

    It's like one of those feral kids who grows up locked in their parents' basement and then is released at age 23, a 200 lb baby who has never played with other children. I imagine Facebook will eventually figure this stuff out, but only if they can be motivated out of fear for its existence. I don't th

  • If you have to even think about it there is a problem.

    • Given that most historic societies had ages of consent or 14 or less, this can be argued to be a classic piece of Western cultural imperialism. As a conservative Christian, I can argue that my faith makes the matter clear - asking ANYONE for a sexually explicit picture over the internet is clearly wrong according to Christian morality. What's your reason - other than 'everyone agrees it's wrong' (except they don't...).

  • The world is not America, where kids can buy guns but they can't have sex or drink beer. Other countries have much lower ages of consent, at or below 14 years of age.

  • While this question is not interesting for 14, it is interesting for 16, where different countries have different laws.

  • "It's none of your goddamn business what people put in their private messages. Anything else falls under the 4th amendment. Get a court order."
    • by dcw3 ( 649211 )

      It's their TOS, and as a member, they don't need a court order to read your messages.

      • But can they break any encryption the user can use? After all you can put ANY text into a facebook message field:

        -----BEGIN PGP MESSAGE-----

        owE7bZjEEDV3vqRnmkJlfqlCcmKeQlFqYopCSUZmsQ5YKDczPaNEISlVIVEhL7Uo
        RY8LAA==
        =4NpZ
        -----END PGP MESSAGE-----

        It isn't actually encrypted of course, just an example of what could be done if someone actually encrypted a message. Facebook makes it easy to share gpg keys.

  • How to solve a problem:
    1. Identify the problem
    2. Gather facts
    3. Discuss how bad the problem is
    4. Think of various solutions
    5. Evaluate each solution based on cost and side effects

    Unless the topic is race, sex, any oppressed group or the environment. Then just stop at 1, allow everyone's opinions to have equal merit (if they agree with you) and scream for punishment. We have had these problems for a very long time. There is a reason we haven't solved them and most of the blame goes to the people
  • ...that made me wish it was April 1st.
  • Everybody is jumping on the "Should not be allowed" option, but are missing the fact that skimming this kind of stuff means more monitoring of "private" conversations.

    How would they catch people asking minors for nudes? How frequently are they scraping IM conversations right now as it is? Would the filtering only be placed on conversations of accounts who have identified themselves as under 18? What about people that lied about their age online?

    While I certainly don't condone people trying to get n
  • by ooloorie ( 4394035 ) on Monday March 05, 2018 @03:05PM (#56211659)

    "In thinking about 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."

    In any sensible world, that is handled the same way it was handled for the telephone system: communications providers don't listen in on private conversations without a court order. We used to impose severe penalties for that kind of eavesdropping.

    And, thank you, Facebook for being at least so open about it. People have a choice in communications platforms and "Communicate on Facebook--We Give You More Surveillance than the Stasi! Now with AI!" is a really catchy sales pitch. Let's see how that works out for you.

  • As long as the police are allowed to lock those men away for a long time.
  • This is what happens when you let "ai" generate your questions for you based on website stats'n'usage.

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