When social networks serve as a showcase for pedophiles: Instagram and Twitter in turmoil

How to moderate publications on social networks and avoid sexual abuse? This is one of the current challenges of Instagram and Twitter, accused by some organizations for the protection of minors of serving as a “showcase” for pedophiles.

Zero tolerance for child exploitation. This is the policy championed by Meta, the parent company of Instagram. Last March, our colleagues from Europe 1 took stock of the measures put in place by the social network for the protection of children. A new feature was to prevent adults from sending personal messages to minors who do not follow their account.

But an investigation published this Sunday, April 17 by The Guardian is causing trouble for other abuses. “Instagram does not allow accounts to be deleted that attract hundreds of sexual comments on posts of photos of children in bathing suits or partial outfits, even after reporting”advances the British media, relying in particular on the experience of a researcher who had tried, in vain, to close one of these accounts.

circumvent the laws

The investigation, which also reveals similar malfunctions on Twitter, denounces a method that would be consciously used by pedophiles to circumvent the law. These latter would share technically legal images on networks before meeting online in private messaging groups to share other content.

Interviewed by The Guardian, Andy Burrows, head of online safety for the charity National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (NSPCC), describes these accounts as real “showcases” for pedophiles. “Companies had to proactively identify this content and remove it themselves, it appears. But even when it is reported to them, they believe it is not a threat to children and should remain. on the site.”

Instagram and Twitter fight back

Around the world, other child protection organizations are calling out Twitter and Instagram. Meta, Instagram’s parent company, told the Guardian that it has “strict rules against content that sexually exploits or endangers children, and that it deleted when she became aware of it.

“Twitter has zero tolerance for any material that depicts or promotes the sexual exploitation of children, added a spokesperson for the famous social network. We fight vigorously and have invested heavily in technology to enforce our policy. .” Progress clearly remains to be made.

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