Brand protection and brand building is mentioned by more than half of the interviewed companies, however it is not typically the most important reason why companies choose to address child sexual abuse material (CSAM).
Several of the companies believe that acting on CSAM is a way of taking control of the issue, managing a risk and protecting the brand from potential damage. Some companies also see it as an added possibility to build the brand, either from a sustainability perspective, or as employee/employer branding.
If a CSAM crime becomes public in the media, or if rumours start to circulate in other forums, about how an employee at a company has downloaded, viewed or shared CSAM, it could be very damaging to the company brand. By making sure that companies have done what they can to detect such criminal behaviour, they incur less risk. By being first to know, and to act on the information, companies can manage the situation and limit damage. It is about ensuring preparedness and making sure that CSAM crime does not take the business by surprise.
“If we have employees that do this, and that we don’t know about, then it is out of our control.”
“In one way this may draw attention to the issue, but it means we’re in control of the information and can demonstrate positive action instead of reaction.”
“This is a criminal activity that we are expected to manage and handle. It is always better to be in control of the information, to be able to say that we were the ones who reported this to the police, and that we take responsibility on this issue.”
A few of the companies mention that working to prevent CSAM also has a positive impact on the brand. It is something that shows concrete action towards the Sustainable Development Goals and some companies include it in their sustainability reports.
These companies also highlight that taking action on this issue is typically very positively received by employees, and that it is an action that employees are proud of, which can strengthen the internal brand.
“Communicating it internally is usually received very positively, it highlights the ethical values in the company and our employees are proud that we do this. Brand building is not the reason why we do this, but it is an added value.”