London, March 7 (IANS) Facebook on Tuesday found itself in the midst of a controversy when it "failed" to remove sexualised pictures of children from the platform and then reporting the BBC journalists who brought it to their attention to the police.
The issue came to light following a BBC investigation in which it used Facebook's "report button" to highlight sexual images but found that more than 80 per cent of that content was not removed.
The social media giant replied with an automated response saying they did not breach "community standards".
According to a report in The Telegraph on Tuesday, the images included under-16s in sexualised poses, pages aimed at paedophiles and an image appearing to be taken from a child abuse video.
As per Facebook's community standards, "sexually suggestive content" cannot be published on the platform.
When some of the images were sent to Facebook to highlight the issue, the Menlo Park-headquartered company reported the journalists who brought them to the company's attention to police for sharing the pictures, the report said.
Facebook later issued a statement saying, "It is against the law for anyone to distribute images of child exploitation".
Meanwhile, Children's Commissioner for England Anne Longfield said she was "very disappointed" by the revelations.
"Facebook's failure to remove illegal content from its website is appalling and violates the agreements they have in place to protect children," said National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (NSPCC) in Britain.
In response, Simon Milner, who is Facebook's Policy Director in Britain, has told the Telegraph that the company has carefully reviewed the content referred to them and removed all items that were illegal or against the company's standards.