Tips for reporting abusive content on social media

Facebook users around the world have reported receiving child pornography through Facebook Messenger in recent weeks. Police in Alabama arrested a man believed to be the person who uploaded the video, but not before it was shared repeatedly.

As Local 6 reported on Monday, Paducah police sent out a warning to the public not to share that video. The posts that were being shared falsely claimed the video needed to “go viral” to help investigators identify the child.

While many of the Facebook users believed to be assisting police by distributing the video hoping someone recognized the perpetrator police say it would have been helpful if they had reported the video to Facebook and the authorities.

Facebook and other social media platforms make it easy for users to report offensive video, particularly video showing harm, many people still don’t do it.

Here’s how to report a video in Facebook and Facebook Messenger.

If the video or photo is in a post, just click the downward arrow.

If it is in a message you must open it in Facebook Messenger which can be found at or in the Facebook Messenger app. Since the video was spread as a Message this may be why Facebook was not notified as quickly as it has in other offensive videos and photos posted to the news feed.

In the Facebook Messenger app, you must tap and hold the sender of the message and choose from a limited number of options, one of which is to report it as spam. I have not seen an option to report a message as offensive material like I see with a Facebook post.

As of this report Facebook has not replied to my request for a statement nor to answer the question if that made a difference in its response. To report an offensive video in YouTube, you must click or tap on the icon of three dots and follow the instructions. You will see several options to report it and say why.

On Twitter, the report button can be found in the downward arrow near the top of the post.

All three companies have software designed to identify life-threatening and illegal content, such as child pornography and child endangerment. The software is supposed to block photos and
videos from being uploaded and posted.

The companies also employ human beings around the clock to monitor uploads and respond to reports of offensive material but with millions of photos, videos and posts being uploaded each hour it is possible for one to slip through the filters.

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