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Facebook apologizes for video search suggestions of child abuse

Searches on Facebook that began “video of” yielded suggestions of clips showing child abuse and sex on Thursday evening.

The company later apologized for the bizarre search results that showed users videos of vulgar and graphic situations. The social media site’s search tool, which is supposed to display the most popular terms to users as they’re typing, seemingly malfunctioned and recommended the explicit videos in the early evening, according to multiple posts by users on Twitter.

“As soon as we became aware of these offensive predictions we removed them,” Facebook said in a statement. “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. We do not allow sexually explicit imagery, and we are committed to keeping such content off of our site.”

Some of the automated search suggestions shared by the platform’s members included “video of little girl giving oral,” “videos of sexuals,” and others that seem far removed from a typical search like “zodwa wabantu videos and pics” (a South African celebrity) and “cristiano ronaldo hala madrid king video call.”

Facebook came under fire last week when it was revealed that the social networking site was running a survey on pedophiles and children, asking its community if child sexual offenders should be allowed to ask kids for sexual pictures through the platform. It admitted the survey was a mistake and said it has “no intention” of allowing that kind of interaction.

“We run surveys to understand how the community thinks about how we set policies,” Facebook vice president of product Guy Rosen tweeted. “But 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.”

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