Facebook's search bar apparently yields results that are deemed NSFW, reports have confirmed. Several users say that its autocomplete feature is alarming.
The issue gained attention after someone posted what they have experienced on another social media outlet. Its appeal extends across all demographics, so it is understandable that some of its members are possibly minors. The news is certainly alarming as it could suggest inappropriate and sensitive content for young users.
Discovery Of The Problem
It is highly possible that a large number of the Facebook users have already encountered similar results. After all, the feature is in place and used by people to locate other people and anything relevant to the words they type on the search bar.
Jonah Bennet, a journalist, graduate student, and researcher, posted his discovery on Twitter. He claims that a friend told him about it and he then gave it a try. The autocomplete results that he got must have been as offensive as what the others got. Presumably, it's the reason why he wants to draw the media's attention to it as soon as possible.
"Go to your Facebook search by and type: video of and see what results show up," posted Bennet.
He tried doing it again after a couple of hours and this time, got normal suggestions. However, another quick search in Spanish reportedly suggested sex videos.
Right now, go to your Facebook search bar and type: video of and see what results show up. — Jonah Bennett (@BennettJonah) March 16, 2018
Problems With Popularity
Facebook is obviously the number 1 social network platform these days with a constantly increasing number of members. Analysts can only imagine the number of status posts, uploaded photos or videos, and other searches that are made at a given interval.
The original search bar is a tool to help members find other people. After the developers refreshed its capabilities in 2014, the results generated by searches are content related to what was keyed in initially. The system analyzes what most people look for when they logged in.
Moreover, there are some instances wherein questionable material makes it through the platform's censors, which probably contribute to the autocomplete database used by its programming. Until the company comes up with a fix, users will most likely pester them with complaints.
Learning And Adapting
Facebook's search bar results being tagged not safe for work is also previously encountered by Google. There was a time when people reported its autocomplete suggestions as offensive and anti-Semitic.
It's a continuous effort for moderators to filter out unwanted words from its database. Now, just like the search platform, improvements to its algorithm can help it overcome the same challenges experienced by others before it.