Belfast Telegraph

Facebook condemned by Taoiseach over abusive content on site

Some of the posts were related to suicide threats and self-harm.

Irish leader Leo Varadkar has condemned Facebook’s approach in how the social media giant deals with violent and abusive material on its site.

A Channel 4 Dispatches documentary that aired on Tuesday night shows trainee moderators being told to leave disturbing footage and content on the site.

The programme, Inside Facebook: Secrets of the Social Network, shows a reporter sent to work as a content moderator for Facebook in its Dublin headquarters.

It was claimed that thousands of reported posts remained unmoderated and on the site.

Some of the posts were related to suicide threats and self-harm.

The programme claimed that moderators were instructed not to remove extreme or graphic content from the social platform, despite breaching the company’s guidelines.

The reporter worked undercover at the Facebook office and recorded training sessions.

Some the videos and images that remained on Facebook included assaults on children, hate speeches and images of self-harm.

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Taoiseach Leo Varadkar (Brian Lawless/PA)

The revelations have been widely criticised, and on Wednesday Taoiseach Mr Varadkar said the government plans to examine legislative mechanisms on whether it can bring in a system that would ensure companies uphold “basic standards of decency”.

“The revelations are shocking and most unacceptable,” he said.

“What’s of most concern and most shocking and unacceptable, is that Facebook appears not to have lived up to its own community standards and the very least we can expect people to do is live up to their own standards.

“[Communications] Minister [Denis] Naughten has sought a meeting with Facebook and that will happen in the next couple of days.

“We need to hear a response and explanation from Facebook as to why they didn’t upheld their own standards.”

He said that global solutions were needed to tackle such issues.

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