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Facebook apologizes for autocomplete child abuse video suggestions

Facebook apologizes for autocomplete child abuse video suggestions

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Stop Motion by Michele Doying / The Verge

Today, Facebook issued an apology after users discovered that the platform’s search box was suggesting searches for child abuse videos and underaged girls performing sex acts.

On Thursday night, Twitter user @BennettJonah noticed that typing in “video of...” in the search bar would autocomplete to “video of sexuals” or “video of little girl giving oral.” The explicit autocomplete search terms have seemingly since been removed from Facebook, as observed by several The Verge’s staff. The Verge has reached out to Facebook for comment.

In a statement to The Guardian, Facebook said, “As soon as we became aware of these offensive predictions we removed them. Facebook search predictions are representative of what people may be searching for on Facebook and are not necessarily reflective of actual content on the platform.”

Because Facebook bans nudity and sexually explicit content on its platforms, the search should not surface explicit content. But the social network has had problems with problematic algorithm suggestions in the past. Last September, Facebook was found to be enabling advertisers to seek out users that were interested in topics such as “jew hater” or “Hitler did nothing wrong.”