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NetClean Labs | 15/12/2017

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Child Sexual Abuse can be found everywhere on the net - social media is no exception

Child Sexual Abuse can be found everywhere on the net – social media is no exception

When looking at Social Media, the increasing number of platforms have also led to an increase in child sexual abuse material being shared using these spaces. In fact, more than a third of the police officers surveyed in our NetClean 2016 Report  reported that Social Media Platforms were one of the most common ways to share child sexual abuse material.

The investigators were also asked which social media networks are most commonly used to share child sexual abuse material. Investigators reported that they receive a significant amount of leads to investigate, and that Kik and Facebook referrals represent the majority of the leads, followed by Snapchat, Twitter, Skype, Instagram and Tumblr.

To understand the results we asked Richard W Brown from Project VIC, to give us an oversight into how Social Media platforms are addressing this issue.

Sophisticated technology generates cybertips

Richard W Brown, National Association to Protect Children, Protect.org and Project Coordinator for Project VIC.

The result is partly an indication of where child sexual abuse material is shared, but it needs to be explained and clarified. The social networks that work most proactively with the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children in the United States and the National Child Exploitation Coordination Center in Canada, are using sophisticated technologies such as PhotoDNA to increase their detection capabilities. Thus, they will have an increase in overall volume by nature. Consequently, this results in larger amounts of cyber tips being sent to police to investigate.

Both Facebook and Kik work aggressively to handle the problem of child sexual abuse material. For example, Facebook monitors its channels and self-reports everything that it finds to authorities in the USA. The social networks that don’t work with this issue will more rarely show up in cases investigated by police. That doesn’t mean that there isn’t illegal material being shared on their platforms.

The proliferation of mobile phones and social network applications available on mobile phones has also played a big part in the dramatic increase in child sexual abuse material (both known and self-generated) being reported. In essence, the more common and popular the mobile app, the more likely an increase in abuse material being transmitted.