Facebook says that it made a mistake after it asked users in a poll if it should allow child predators to ask children for sexual photos on its platform.
The odd admission comes after Facebook prompted some of its users with a survey asking about acceptable behaviors on its platform.
One survey question asked how a user would “handle” a man asking for inappropriate pictures of a young girl if that user was in charge of setting Facebook’s policies.
“There are a wide range of topics and behaviors that appear on Facebook,” one question read, according to screenshots posted by The Guardian. “In thinking about an ideal world where you could set Facebook’s policies, how would you handle the following: a private message in which an adult man asks a 14-year-old girl for sexual pictures.”
Users were then given a standard set of answers to pick from ranging from “this content should not be allowed on Facebook, and no one should be able to see it” to “this content should be allowed on Facebook, and I would not mind seeing it.”
A follow-up question in the survey asked users who should be in charge of deciding policies around “an adult man asks a 14-year-old girl for sexual pictures,” and gave the option for letting “Facebook users decide the rules by voting.”
Facebook’s vice president of product, Guy Rosen, tweeted that the company had made an error and that these kinds of actions would always be “completely unacceptable” on the social media platform.
“We run surveys to understand how the community thinks about how we set policies. But this kind of activity is and will always be completely unacceptable on FB,” he explained. “We regularly work with authorities if identified. It shouldn’t have been part of this survey. That was a mistake.”
Facebook said in a statement that it has since stopped the survey and says that this behavior already violates its policies.
“We sometimes ask for feedback from people about our community standards and the types of content they would find most concerning on Facebook,” a company spokesperson said.
“We understand this survey refers to offensive content that is already prohibited on Facebook and that we have no intention of allowing so have stopped the survey. We have prohibited child grooming on Facebook since our earliest days; we have no intention of changing this and we regularly work with the police to ensure that anyone found acting in such a way is brought to justice.”