- 18 Jul 18
Retail Excellence has today suspended its partnership with social media giant Facebook after a Channel 4 documentary exposed some of the controversial practises and content moderation within the company.
The Dispatches investigative documentary showed Facebook moderators in their Dublin-based offices instructing employees that abusive content should sometimes remain up on the site.
Included in this was a video of crying toddler being kicked and beaten by a man, as well as a meme suggesting that a girl whose “first crush is a little negro boy” should have their head held underwater. The first example, which is documented below, remained up for several years, despite requests to take it down.
This graphic video depicting a child abuser beating a young boy was left on Facebook for several years, despite requests to have it taken down.#Dispatches went undercover to investigate why the social media network is leaving extreme content on its site.
WATCH NOW @Channel4. pic.twitter.com/3Ft6H5d64q
— Channel 4 Dispatches (@C4Dispatches) July 17, 2018
In the scenario, trainees were told the video should be “marked as disturbing” (MAD) but not taken down.
One moderator is recorded saying: “If you start censoring too much then people stop using the platform. It’s all about money at the end of the day”.
The shocking content of this investigative report has led Retail Excellence to suspend their partnership with the social media company. Retail Excellence had previously partnered with Facebook to provide training to retailers to enhance their digital strategies.
The next Retail Excellence-Facebook training course was scheduled to take place next week, with Facebook also expected to address delegates at Retail Excellence eCommerce Conference in September.
However, the group's chief executive Lorraine Higgins said today: "Based on the revelations from Channel 4 Dispatches documentary last evening, we have decided to suspend our partnership with Facebook until further notice.
"As a representative body which promotes standards of excellence amongst retailers it would be wrong for us to continue our partnership where they have fallen short.
"On that basis, we will not be working with Facebook until we are satisfied their policies have been overhauled regarding the posting of violent and abusive content for commercial gain."
In the programme, Facebook's vice-president of global policy solutions, Richard Allan, admitted that the investigation had “identified some areas where we have failed” and he apologised. However, he responded, “But I just don’t agree that that is the experience that most people want and that’s not the experience we are trying to deliver.”
The programme has led to renewed calls for greater regulation within the social media industry.