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Facebook filters failing?

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Updated: 10/21/2010 11:19 pm
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- For many, social networking sites like Facebook they are the easiest way for millions to keep in touch with family and friends.

But an investigation by shows these sites are also a haven for sexual predators. It's a website many of you probably visit everyday to update your status and post pictures, but an investigation by says Facebook is falling short of filtering provocative pictures by pedophiles.

Susan Severson has two teenage girls, who both use Facebook. She keeps a close eye on what they post. "I look at their friends lists to make sure who they're talking to and whose talking to them." found pages full of potentially illegal pictures of children. In fact, their investigation found one page with a post directing users to a link that supposedly showed a child being sexually abused. Facebook has recently updated some of their privacy filters and they have content filters that automatically scan for keywords commonly associated with child exploitative materials.

We have the same thing here at Action News. Brad Diermann is our IT professional and he says filtering pictures is next to impossible. "With pictures it's different, because nothing can look out to program. It would take manual intervention reviewing each picture."

While one mom knows that won't happen, she tries to make sure her children know what to stay away from online. "It's impossible to protect them from everything," said Severson.

The Facebook executives were unable to explain to why this happened and how their filters could have failed. We tried contacting them to comment, but we haven't heard back.    

You can report signs of abuse, illegal content or inappropriate pictures. Facebook's privacy page says they will remove any information that falls under those abuses.
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