Aardvark Daily

New Zealand's longest-running online daily news and commentary publication, now in its 25th year. The opinion pieces presented here are not purported to be fact but reasonable effort is made to ensure accuracy.

Content copyright © 1995 - 2019 to Bruce Simpson (aka Aardvark), the logo was kindly created for Aardvark Daily by the folks at

Please visit the sponsor!
Please visit the sponsor!

8.7 million child-porn images?

26 October 2018

Facebook has always been somewhat over-zealous in policing the issue of nudity on its website.

There are countless stories of folk who have had innocent pictures deleted by Facebook because they were deemed to fall foul of their policies on nudity and, it seems, there is little latitude for art works either.

It seems that if there is *any* chance of someone taking offense at an image, Facebook will delete it.

So what? It's their website, you are a guest and you acknowledge when you join-up that *they* set the standards and the rules. Where is the problem?

Well I'll tell you...

Media sources around the world are reporting that, thanks to some new AI technology, Facebook has just successfully deleted 8.7 million child-nudity images from its pages.

Excuse me?

When has AI ever been that good?

I think that the truth is, Facebook has deleted 8.7 million images that it *thinks* included child nudity -- and that's hugely different to the claim.

We've seen Google's AI routines regularly stuffing up the comparatively simple task of deciding whether a piece of audio belongs to someone else so what are the chances that a far more complex task could be achieved with perfect accuracy?

One thing I find *very* interesting in this report on the latest Facebook saga is this statement:

"Facebook had already been using photo-matching technology to compare newly uploaded photos with known images of child exploitation and revenge porn"

Excuse me?

So you're saying that Facebook has had this *huge* library of illegal pornography on its servers all the time and that's okay -- because it's being used to spot the same images being uploaded by users?


What's the next scandal we'll see... "Facebook execs caught watching their own library of porn but say it's because they're thinking of the children"??

Now don't get me wrong, I'm certainly not in favour of the Net being used to disseminate unlawful images... but let's face it, if Facebook thinks that some treasured Greek statue is obscene... how many people have woken up to find that the holiday snaps they took of their kids at the beach last summer are now missing -- flagged as "child nudity"?

As I said at the start of today's column... Facebook provides the service so Facebook gets to make the rules. However, it is extremely unfortunate that, in these days of sensationalist click-bait fake-news, the media has been able to write headlines which imply that nearly 9 million child-porn images were found on this very popular website. Especially when the reality is that there were almost certainly *some* illegal images but the vast majority of those deleted were probably either done so in error or simply the type of image that innocent, healthy, honest, fun, family memories are made of.

Damn the mainstream media (again).

Please visit the sponsor!
Please visit the sponsor!

Have your say in the Aardvark Forums.

PERMALINK to this column

Rank This Aardvark Page


Change Font

Sci-Tech headlines



Beware The Alternative Energy Scammers

The Great "Run Your Car On Water" Scam


Recent Columns

There is no centre to the universe
In the beginning there was nothing. No matter, no time, no universe...

When less is more?
It used to be that being an electronics hobbyist was easy...

Why time flies
As older folk like myself are very much aware, time seems to pass more quickly as you age...

Oh the irony
YouTube has made a lot of noise about enforcing its community standards of late...

The end of live streaming?
The events of last Friday continue to have deep repercussions on the shape and form that the internet may take from this point forwards...

More internet restrictions
It really does look as if the internet is dying -- from the perspective of being an open, free and somewhat anonymous method of accessing and disseminating information...

The future looks bleak
Today's column was going to be about the tragedy of the Christchurch mosque attacks which happened on Friday of last week...

No longer plane simple
Just about every country in the developed world has now grounded the Boeing 737 Max 8 aircraft, after two crashes that have resulted in the deaths of hundreds of people...

When the sun shines
We all know where clouds live... in the sky...

Actions speak louder than words
I've written a few columns about the (apparent) decline in geekiness and the sad way people seem to be uninterested in the technology that powers the world around us...

A black-box society?
A few days ago I made a video (as you do) about how there seems to be a lack of interest in "making stuff" these days...