08/03/2017 11:23 SAST | Updated 08/03/2017 11:50 SAST

Facebook Reported The BBC To The Police Because A BBC Investigation Revealed Sexualised Images Of Children On Facebook

The company apparently retaliated against the BBC's investigation into its failure to crack down on child porn rings using the site to share images.

Philippe Wojazer / Reuters
Facebook logo is seen at a start-up companies gathering at Paris' Station F in Paris, France, January 17, 2017. REUTERS/Philippe Wojazer

Facebook is known for its stringent policy with regards to explicit images, however an investigation by the BBC revealed that people were sharing what appeared to be sexually explicit images of children in groups. When the social media company was shown evidence of this by the reporters, it reported them to the police and cancelled a planned interview.

Why this happened is unclear, though the company did release a statement saying "it is against the law for anyone to distribute images of child exploitation."

The investigation was part of the BBC's longtime running campaign to prove that in spite of its claims that explicit images were banned on the site, paedophiles were using private groups to share these images. The broadcaster said that information provided to the police from this investigation led to the arrest and imprisonment of one man.

The BBC also reported that of the 100 images reported to Facebook via the "report image" button, only 18 were taken down.

"Facebook's rules forbid convicted sex offenders from having accounts. But the BBC found five convicted paedophiles with profiles, and reported them to Facebook via its own system. None of them were taken down," the BBC said.

The broadcaster quoted the chairman of the Commons media committee Damian Collins saying that it was extraordinary that the BBC had been reported to the authorities when it was trying to "help clean up the network".