A particularly, disturbing Facebook survey went viral early Monday morning after it graced the News Feed of The Guardian’s digital editor Jonathan Hayes. “There are a wide range of topics and behaviors that appear on Facebook,” the survey reads. “In thinking about an ideal world where you could set Facebook’s policies, how would you handle the following: a private message in which an adult man asks a 14-year-old girl for sexual pictures.”
Needless to say, the follow up question provided didn’t exactly help:
And y’know, shouldn’t laws figure here as being quite important on determining rules? pic.twitter.com/9fzdHNJos8— Jonathan Haynes (@JonathanHaynes) March 4, 2018
Concerned Facebook users, bloggers, and humans of all kinds quickly descended upon the survey, calling it, among other things, “stupid and irresponsible” and one of the “most awful things they’ve seen.” Facebook’s Vice President of Product, Guy Rosen, called the surveys “a mistake,” in a tweet on the form’s recent pedophillic turn. Yet, as far as terrible Facebook surveys go, this one is far from an anomaly. Facebook has a long (and honestly, endlessly entertaining) history of producing awful, embarrassing, and just plain confusing surveys for its users to screenshot and mock on another platform.
It more or less all began back in 2013, when Facebook — much to the collective horror of its users — switched up its News Feed. One of the first widely shared surveys asked readers to share their feelings about the new feed, namely, was it harder or easier than what came before it.
Facebook survey on news feed is all a bit I say old boy what what! pic.twitter.com/YnDrOvvxYE— Darren Shea (@darrenashea) March 19, 2013
“Does this post feel like an advert?” one survey asked. (Yes, yes it does, Facebook, thanks for asking.) Others didn’t even try to hide their sponcon.
I think Facebook just burned all files about me. They asked me if I wanted to purchase Pokemon Ultrasun/Ultramoon.— DunsparceAndDiglett (@DunsparceDiglet) December 12, 2017
What's step 2 after achieving freedom? After I've separated my name from corporate higher ups? pic.twitter.com/Lef2oE9ojK
In the wake of the 2016 election, Facebook’s surveys became increasingly desperate, often reflecting recent news cycles or issues plaguing the company in the worst way possible.
A Facebook survey popped up for me tonight pic.twitter.com/EhHQUCH2hq— Tom Warren (@tomwarren) November 14, 2016
Facebook recently asked me to take a survey, here are some of the questions. Wish I could watch how they 'analyze' the resulting data. pic.twitter.com/LoGNulQMRD— Surya Mattu (@suryamattu) December 20, 2017
facebook asked me to take this totally chill survey pic.twitter.com/I4TCjWrYv7— Joe Veix (@joeveix) January 17, 2018
This, if you can believe it, is a forced survey that asks about forcefulness.
Just got a 3-min Facebook survey with this question. Answer is yes — I saw violent / gory footage & images from news coverage of the shooting in Parkland, FL. Does that belong on Facebook tho? I can imagine a wide range of answers to that Q. pic.twitter.com/FqR0iJiIW0— Deepa Seetharaman (@dseetharaman) February 21, 2018
“We run surveys to understand how the community thinks about how we set policies,” wrote Rosen. “But this kind of activity [from the Guardian piece] is and will always be completely unacceptable on FB. We regularly work with authorities if identified. It shouldn't have been part of this survey. That was a mistake.”