Pedophiles, or those people who are taking a sexual interest of children, have been found trading images of children on Facebook, through the use of Facebook's Group feature, according to a report by the BBC.
These people have been making use of 'secret groups,' a feature on the website that makes groups hidden from search, and only members can see the group and its contents.
During an investigation by the BBC, the company found a number of secret Facebook groups that exchange photos of children. The groups reportedly have a lot of highly explicit content, like photos of children in their school uniforms, which are then accompanied by suggestive comments.
While some of the images were taken mostly from magazines, blogs, and catalogs, some content are still captured secretly by the pedophiles themselves.
Immersing themselves into the secret world even more, the BBC set up their own profile and managed to join one of the groups. One group, called "cute teen schoolies," contained an image of a girl aged 10 or 11 wearing a vest. The image contained the words "yum yum." However, according to Facebook upon responding, the photo did not breach its community standards, leaving the photo intact on the group.
There were other similar groups containing highly sexualized images, but unfortunately, the photos reportedly did not breach the community standards of the site either.
Furthermore, Diane (not her real name), a mother, has discovered that the photos of her own daughter have been ripped off from her own website, which were then traded on various pedophilic groups. "I was horrified. Thinking that these innocent snapshots of my (then) 11-year-old daughter had become the subject of vile comments and disgusting exchanges between members of these groups was really upsetting," she said.
Diane also mentioned how upsetting it is for her that Facebook allows such groups to exist, without monitoring them in any way. "There must be a duty of care to users to make sure that paedophiles can't hide on these secret groups, stealing and sharing images of children they find online," she finally stated.
According to Children's Commissioner for England Anne Longfield, Facebook was not doing enough to protect children, with regards to their policies. "I'm shocked those don't breach community standards, any parent or indeed child looking at those would know that they were not acceptable," she said.
Back in September, a father actually sued Facebook for allegedly exposing his 11-year old daughter to these kinds of predators.
Facebook declined to comment on the issue. However, the company was able to speak to Rishi Saha during an event about internet safety. He said:
When it comes to specific groups I think it's really important that we investigate the groups, so if you're able to share the details of these groups with me then I can work with my colleagues who do the investigations on these and make sure we're investigating them and we're removing the content that shouldn't be there.
Saha finally stated that Facebook will seek the aid of law enforcement to ensure that the groups are monitored and that proper action is taken.