Facebook criticised for letting users search for hidden photos of female friends – but not men

Facebook criticised for letting users search for hidden photos of female friends – but not men
Facebook's search bar function on the platform will only expose photos of women and not men (Photo: Shutterstock)

Facebook has been dubbed “sexist” after a search fault appears to allows users to search for photos of their female friends, but not their male ones.

The so-called ‘sexist glitch’ was identified by Belgian security researcher and ethical hacker Inti De Ceukelaire, who found the search bar function on the platform will only expose photos of women and not men.

Sexist search?

De Ceukelaire found that if you enter ‘photos of my female friends’ into the search bar, Facebook will return pictures of women you are connected with on the site.

However, if ‘photos of my male friends’ is entered, this search will return a series of random pictures from Facebook pages you are not connected with.

The site will also ask if you meant to type ‘female’, assuming your search query was entered incorrectly.

The glitch generates an auto-completed list of search queries when ‘photos of my female friends’ is entered, including ‘in bikinis’ and ‘at the beach’.

In contrast, when ‘photos of my male friends’ is typed, no auto-complete search suggestions appear.

‘Working as intended’

De Ceukelaire first referenced the glitch on his Twitter page on Monday (11 February), but the search issue is still appearing and is yet to be resolved.

He wrote, “Facebook secretly adapted their creepy hidden search function this weekend.

“You can now no longer retrieve hidden photos from your male friends. Women can/may still be stalked.”

He has since posted a response from the social platform, writing Facebook “openly admits that their sexist search suggestions are ‘working as intended'”.