Business Technology

Thursday 17 October 2019

'We don't profit from vile content,' Facebook tells TDs


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Response: Twitter’s Karen White denied social media companies were responsible for a rise in child sexual abuse material
Adrian Weckler

Adrian Weckler

Facebook has told TDs and senators it does not profit from illegal or upsetting content that is found on its various social media and messaging services.

The company's Irish executives told a Joint Oireachtas Committee on Justice that such content hurts its commercial revenues.

"I don't accept the premise that we profit from this," said Dualta Ó Broin, head of public policy at Facebook Ireland.

"It's the opposite, the advertisers don't want their ads anywhere near this kind of content."

Mr Ó Broin was responding to an accusation from Fine Gael TD Colm Brophy that social media companies such as Facebook were profiting from viral images of fatal motor accidents and live streams of murder sprees.

The comments came during a special session of the Joint Committee examining online harassment and harmful communications.

Facebook, Google, Twitter and the Internet Service Providers Association of Ireland were giving evidence to the committee about measures they are adopting to protect users online.

Twitter's director of public policy for Europe, Karen White, denied an accusation from Fianna Fáil TD Jim O'Callaghan that social media companies were responsible for a rise in child sexual abuse material.

She said recent research indicated that less than 1pc of child sexual abuse material detected was hosted on social-media sites.

Executives from all of the companies denied that they were "publishers" like newspapers or broadcasters, arguing their services facilitated live commentary and posts.

Irish Independent

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