The social media bosses are answering questions on the Channel 4 documentary 'Inside Facebook’

European and Irish Facebook bosses are appearing before the Oireachtas Communications Committee over the social network's handling of violent and harmful content.

Committee members are grilling the executives on revelations included in the Channel 4 documentary 'Inside Facebook.’

The programme used hidden camera footage to show how content moderation practices are taught and applied within the company's operations in Dublin.

It found moderators were instructed not to remove abusive or graphic content - even when it violated the company's guidelines.

Fianna Fáil communications spokesperson Timmy Dooley

This morning, committee member Timmy Dooley said the programme clearly illustrated unacceptable behaviour:

“What we saw was material being used effectively to train the moderators,” he said.

“So you had somebody from CPL who was working on behalf of Facebook saying, ‘this video of an adult beating a child senselessly, is OK so long as there is not a tagline on it that says this if fun, you can do this.’

“Well, I don’t think that is acceptable.”

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg

He said tech giants have a responsibility to maintain standards – and Governments must ensure they do so.

“Facebook and Google and these digital platforms are extremely powerful, have a phenomenal reach and by and large have been beneficial to society,” he said.

“But that is not to suggest that there should not be some level of regulation.

“And it certainly is the case, that it should not be self-regulation.”

US President Donald Trump at a campaign rally in Florida, 31-07-2018. Image:  Evan Vucci/AP/Press Association Images

Meanwhile, Facebook said it had uncovered a new “sophisticated” campaign to influence the upcoming US mid-term elections.

The company closed dozens of fake accounts it said were involved in “coordinated, inauthentic behaviour” ahead of the November mid-term elections.

The social media giant said it is still at the early stages of its investigation – and said it could not say for certain who was behind the campaign.

It said it was publishing what it knows so far “given the connection between these bad actors and protests that are planned in Washington next week.”

Facebook said whoever set up the accounts “went to much greater lengths” to hide their identity than the Russian-based Internet Research Agency (IRA) has in the past.