Pixel Envy

Written by Nick Heer.

Facebook Surveys Users to Find Out Whether Men Soliciting Sexual Images of Children Should Be Allowed on the Platform

Alex Hern, with one hell of a lede in 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.

You don’t say.

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”.

I don’t know how something like this could be possible, unless Facebook is somehow running this survey in an entirely automated way, including in writing the questions. Maybe they are, but I think someone — a human being — must have written this question and someone else must have seen it before it was published. Either there was an over-reliance in automated tools, nobody working on this survey caught such a blatantly stupid question, or someone genuinely believed this was something worth asking.