Facebook Is Being Accused of Publishing Child Pornography

An act of public service or a case of old media defending its ancient privileges while it still can?

The Times of London reported Thursday that Facebook is at risk of being prosecuted in the U.K. after failing to remove content sponsoring terrorism and child pornography from its social network even after being alerted to it.

The accusations are a variation on an increasingly familiar theme with Facebook and Google, which was embroiled in a similar controversy last month over the automated placing of digital ads on extremist content on YouTube, and add to the evidence that social media companies care less about what they publish than about bolstering audience figures to maximize their advertising revenue.

The Times said Facebook failed to take down dozens of images and videos such as "one showing an Islamic State beheading, several violent paedophilic cartoons, a video of an apparent sexual assault on a child and propaganda posters glorifying recent terrorist attacks in London and Egypt." The material included an official news bulletin posted by Islamic State praising last weekend's bombing of two Coptic churches in Egypt, which killed 91 "Christian warriors."

It noted that Facebook's algorithms even promoted some of the material by inviting users to join the groups and profiles that published it.

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