Today, Facebook has issued an apology after users discovered that the social network’s search box was suggesting searches for child abuse videos and underaged girls performing sexual acts.
Thursday night, Twitter user @BennettJonah noticed that when typing in “video of…” in Facebook’s search bar, it would autocomplete to “video of sexual” or “video of little girl giving oral.” Those explicit autocomplete search terms have been removed from Facebook. We have 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.”
Since Facebook bans nudity and sexually explicit content on the platform, the search should not surface explicit content. Though, it’s worth mentioning that the company has had issues with problematic algorithms suggestions in the past. In September of last year, we learned that 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.”