Facebook Asks: Does Pedophilia Bother You?

Facebook, which wants to give your kid a messaging app, actually asked users if it would be OK for an adult man to ask a teenage girl for sexual photos.

Credit: Frederic Legrand - COMEO/Shutterstock

(Image credit: Frederic Legrand - COMEO/Shutterstock)

This news comes to us via The Guardian, which also reports that Facebook responded to queries about the situation by deeming the surveys "a mistake."

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A Facebook survey in its mobile app posed a hypothetical question to users, asking how they would handle "a private message in which an adult man asks a 14-year-old girl for sexual pictures." Facebook presented users with four answers, and each displays a baffling detachment to the content of the question:

  • "This content should be allowed on Facebook, and I would not mind seeing it."
  • "This content should be allowed on Facebook, but I don't want to see it."
  • "This content should not be allowed on Facebook, and no one should be able to see it."
  • "I have no preference on topic."

Of course, the third answer is the correct answer, but the real question is how did this make it onto Facebook in the first place?

Facebook’s vice president of product, Guy Rosen, the exec who stated that the survey query was a mistake, tried to explain the situation by giving context: "We run surveys to understand how the community thinks about how we set policies."

Credit: The Guardian

(Image credit: The Guardian)

Pushing back against the idea that any of this could be allowed to happen on Facebook, Rosen stated "this kind of activity is and will always be completely unacceptable on FB. We regularly work with authorities if identified. It shouldn’t have been part of this survey. That was a mistake."

A follow-up question from Facebook, for the same hypothetical of an adult man begging a 14-year-old girl for sexual photos, Facebook asked "who do you think should be deciding the rules." Answers included:

  • "Facebook decides the rules on its own."
  • "Facebook decides the rules with advice from external experts."
  • "External experts decide the rules and tell Facebook."
  • "Facebook users decide the rules by voting and tell Facebook."
  • "I have no preference."