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Responding to a BBC investigation into Facebook’s failure to remove inappropriate images of children, Children’s Commissioner for England, Anne Longfield said:

“It is totally unacceptable that Facebook does not remove sexualised imagery of children immediately. They, like other social media companies and internet providers, have a duty to protect children from harm and must make sure that they do so.

“Every child should be able to benefit safely from the opportunities that the internet provides. My recent inquiry into children’s digital lives found that many children are lured onto pages they do not want to see through techniques such as hashtags which are designed to attract children but link straight to unpleasant content. Social media companies are very secretive about things like this, which is why I have asked them to be more open about the complaints they receive from children and teenagers. We need to understand the extent of the problem. It’s ironic that internet companies attack anyone who challenges them as if we are somehow opposed to openness or modernity – as if we want to close down the internet – and yet they themselves are so very secretive about their business, whether that is how they use algorithms to target children, or complaints they receive from kids, or generally how they use their data.”

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