Wednesday, 26 August 2015


Facebook Shame

Stealing a picture of a sick child and adding it to a fraudulent post that tells outright lies solely to mislead users is NOT a violation of your community standards

This is a first for me. A campaign to do something about the shameful double standards of Facebook.
I don't actually know how many people actually read this blog, the stats available are more or less meaningless, but if you do, I am asking everyone to read this article and pass on the information.
Most of you who have a Facebook page will at some time will have seen fake posts exhorting you to share and like some story in order for the originator to harvest likes which they can then sell on to advertisers of dodgy goods and services.
One of the most despicable of these is the "sick baby" post. Someone creates a Facebook page then takes a stolen picture of a sick child. The story that goes with it can vary. Sometimes it will be a claim that Microsoft/Virgin/KFC/HSBC etc. will donate x pence/pounds/dollars etc. for each like or share. Another suggests that 10 likes equals one prayer and 1 share equals 20 prayers for the child pictured. 
Most people are not so stupid as to promote this garbage but there are enough to make the tactic worthwhile.
Children themselves are particularly susceptible to this sort of thing. Recently, I have had my timeline filled with images of whatever with the demand that you type "amen", all of these coming from children.
None of this would happen if Facebook itself took action to remove these pages when they first appear, but no. It seems that if you do report one of these pages, Facebook will tell you that it 
Not only that, but if you comment on the fact that their standards are disgusting, you get your page blocked. Yes folks, stealing pictures of sick children in order to scam people is okay but complaining about it is not.
Hoax Slayer, who have just tried post a link to their article about this shameful practise has been blocked. I would share it on my Facebook page but Facebook won't let me so I  have copied the entire article from their web page below. Please read it.

Dear Facebook, I Have a Question......

In what universe is it NOT a violation of any decent set of 'community standards' to steal a picture of a sick baby and use it just to gather social media likes?
Let me explain:

A few days ago, I reported a Facebook post that featured an image of a baby with a large growth on the side of her head. The post claimed that the baby had a brain tumour and that users could help raise money to help her by liking, commenting and sharing. According to the post, Facebook will donate $1 for every like, $3 for every comment, and $10 for every share.

Of course, the post is just another disgusting sick baby scam designed to gather large numbers of likes for a particular Facebook Page. Liking, sharing, and commenting will do nothing whatsoever to help the pictured child. Facebook certainly will not donate money based on how many times users interact with a post.

As I discuss in more detail in a separate article, the baby in the photograph was suffering from an extremely rare sarcoma tumour. The tumour was removed in April 2012. But, these scammers stole her image from another source for use in their fraudulent post. 

Soon after I reported the scam post, I received a reply from Facebook that stated:
We reviewed the share you reported and found it doesn't violate our Community Standards.
Really Facebook? Really?

If this was the first and only time that I'd had this result when reporting a sick baby scam, then I would just put it down to an unfortunate error or a poor judgement call. But, there is a seemingly endless stream of these sick baby scams and they have been circulating on Facebook for years. And, over those years, I've reported a great many of them. Alas, I almost always get the same reply claiming that the reported post 'doesn't violate our Community Standards'.

And, many other Facebook users have told me that they have had the same experience when reporting these scams.

So, Facebook, let me just clarify, so I understand. What you're telling me is that stealing a picture of a sick child and adding it to a fraudulent post that tells outright lies designed solely to mislead your users is NOT a violation of your community standards? Even though these fake posts can cause great harm and ongoing distress to the targeted children and their families, you don't see them as a violation of your standards? And, you don't have a problem with the fact that the post tells a deliberate and damaging lie about your company by claiming that you will donate money based on user participation? 

If so, then there is clearly something wrong with the standards you have in place and with the way that you react to offensive and fraudulent material posted on your network.

Facebook, I think it is time that you finally took some meaningful action to stamp out these scams. In my opinion, you have an ethical obligation to deal with them and you should have done so years ago. 

If these sick baby scam posts don't violate your community standards, then you need to CHANGE your community standards. Any organisation that does not consider the deliberate, callous, and wilful exploitation of sick or injured children to be a violation of its 'community standards' is surely out of touch with the expectations of any decent people who use its services.

And you also need to update your reporting procedure in relation to sick baby scams. When reporting a post, users are given a series of options to choose as reasons for reporting. But, at least in my opinion, there is no option that clearly fits this type of scam post. Given that these scams are very common and have circulated for years on end, there SHOULD be a clear and easy way to report them.

The disgraceful people who create these scam posts are beneath contempt. They have no place on our social networks and should be ousted and reviled for their contemptible behaviour. But, dear Facebook, by your continued and utterly reprehensible lack of action, you share the culpability of the immoral users who create such scam posts in the first place. For goodness sake, DO SOMETHING TO STOP THEM! 

Really Facebook? Thumbs Down

I wonder, If Facebook are saying that a post suggesting that they will donate a dollar for each like does not violate their community standards, is that because they really are going to donate a dollar for each like. If not, then why are they allowing a lie to perpetuate on their website?
I for one am going to go onto Facebook's own Facebook page and ask them why they allow these kind of posts and if they have anything to say to the parents of the children whose pictures are being used in this way. I might also contact some of the companies that advertise on Facebook and ask them if they are aware of what is going on and how it might damage their own public image. If everyone were to do this we could perhaps make Facebook change it's policy towards criminals who use their website.

If we can put some pressure on advertisers, we can hit Facebook where they keep their real standards - in their wallets.

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