An investigation has found thousands of illegal upskirting photos on Facebook

·2-min read
Photo credit: Getty Images
Photo credit: Getty Images

An investigation by the BBC found thousands of illegal upskirting photos on Facebook, which it says were not immediately removed when flagged to the social platform's parent company, Meta.

Upskirting – the act of taking unsolicited photographs up somebody's skirt/dress – became a crime in 2019 under the Voyeurism (Offences) Act following a powerful campaign by a young woman who had experienced the violation herself at a festival in 2017. Upskirting is typically performed in public spaces, particularly on public transport, amongst crowds of people where the perpetrator is less likely to be caught out.

But, despite the crime carrying a jail sentence of up to two years, a recent investigation found that thousands of illegal upskirting photos were uploaded to Facebook. "The BBC found thousands of users openly sharing obscene material of women and girls taken in public without their consent," the report read.

"I was on a mission with this one and I finally got her", the BBC reported that one user wrote on the social platform alongside an upskirting photo. "So sexy. Would love to see more", someone else replied.

"How do people manage to get hidden upskirt? How are you holding [the] camera etc not to get noticed", another user questioned, seemingly looking for tips on how to take upskirting photos.

Photo credit: Getty Images
Photo credit: Getty Images

Yet, according to the BBC, when the images were first reported to Meta using its safety tools, the images were not deemed to go "against" the platform's "specific Community Standards". As such, the upskirting photos reported by the BBC were not immediately removed. Similarly, when the BBC reported the user's comment asking for tips, it was not taken down promptly.

In response to the BBC's investigation, a spokesperson for Meta told Cosmopolitan UK: "Sharing intimate images without consent, including upskirting, is not allowed on Facebook."

The spokesperson continued, "Following the BBC’s investigation, we’ve removed a large number of groups and accounts, and have taken further action to block multiple associated hashtags. We know our work is never finished and we’ll continue to remove any violating content when we become aware of it."

Explaining what Facebook has in place to protect users from harmful content, Meta explained that under the platform's Adult sexual exploitation policies, it does not allow secretly taken imagery of a real person's commonly sexualised body parts (which typically includes breasts, groin, buttocks or thighs).

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