Facebook Apologise for Restoring Account of False Cancer Babies


Facebook has apologised for repeatedly restoring an account that posted stolen photos of children falsely claiming they had cancer.

The social network twice disabled the account following complaints, only to re-enable it hours later.

“These posts are clearly distressing for the families and this content has now been removed,” a spokeswoman said.

“We apologise for the delay in taking them down.”

The social network acted for a third time after the matter was brought to its attention by the BBC. It has not explained the actions of its complaints team.

One internet expert said the behaviour had been “bonkers” and called into question Facebook’s safety procedures.

Fake appeal

The BBC reported on Tuesday the case of a child from Cambridgeshire whose photos had been used alongside a fake plea for help.

“This little baby has cancer and he need money for surgery,” the accompanying post stated.

It added that Facebook would donate money for every “like”, comment or share of the message.

The picture was posted at the start of February. More than one million people responded.

Security experts said such tactics were often used by “like farming” scammers.

Perpetrators attempt to engage as many users as possible so that they can later target them with follow-up messages and/or sell on the profile page and its associated contacts to unscrupulous marketers.

The mother of the child – Sarah Allen from St Neots, Cambridgeshire – said she had been upset by the discovery.

“We had people messaging saying they had heard Jasper has cancer,” she told the BBC.

“He doesn’t. These were pictures from when he had chickenpox.”

Facebook eventually deleted this post but – after overturning Tuesday’s short-lived account block – left similar fake cancer posts featuring other children live.

The BBC determined they included an photo of a three-year-old girl from England, who was injured in a road accident in 2015. The image belongs to her parents.

“I need the photo to be removed,” said the mother of the girl – who asked not to be named – when she was informed of its misuse.

“I am extremely upset about it.”

Source: BBC

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