Social media is used to share child sexual abuse material

As the use of social media continues to increase in society, the problem of child sexual abuse material being distributed through social media follows. This trend was highlighted in the NetClean Report 2015, and confirmed in this year’s survey. 37.9 per cent (Insight 4) of investigators stated that social media is one of the most common ways to distribute child sexual abuse material.

In one of the questions, investigators were asked to mention trends that they see as increasing and important. 34 per cent mentioned that self-produced material, grooming, sextortion and sharing of child sexual abuse material over social media is increasing and poses a big challenge.

Many police officers also commented that the trend is driven by the number of social media platforms, apps and the increasing usage and technological developments of mobile phones.

“Increasing use of social media for production of child pornography
including through the use of sextortion.”

“Children groomed/forced to send naked pictures or video of themselves.”

“More platforms – more sharing using apps and phones.”

“I see a growing problem in young people age 10-17 sending pictures
to boy-/girlfriends and after end of relationship the pictures are shared.
And how willing young people are to show themselves naked on webcam.”

“Sharing of images and videos between minors, which is then spilled
to adult offenders.”

Investigators were asked to rank their incoming social network complaint activity.

1. Kik 50 %
2. Facebook 36,5 %
3. Snapchat 24 %
4. Twitter 16,5 %
5. Skype 15 %
6. Instagram 14,5 %
7. Tumblr 13 %
8. Google+ 7,5 %
9. Omegle 6,5 %
10. WhatsApp 6 %

The question was asked without suggested answers and each respondent had the opportunity to name up to five social networks.

Many reports from Kik and Facebook – and that is positive

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.

As the headline suggests, the results should be interpreted as a positive indicator of corporate responsibility. The social networks that make an effort to detect and report material, also show up in the results. Please read the commentary from Richard W Brown at Project VIC explaining the results.

Grooming

Is when an adult seeks contact with a child with the intention of later sexually abusing that child. First contact is often taken on a chat forum.

Self-generated material

This can be nude or undressed images and videos that the children themselves have taken, either voluntarily or as a result of coercion. It can be nude images that youths send to a girlfriend/boyfriend or upload onto the Internet seeking affirmation, usually without understanding or thinking of the risk of the images spreading. But it is also about children that have been groomed and then coerced or blackmailed into sending images and videos of themselves.

Sextortion

Sextortion is a relatively new term that comes from the terms sex and extortion. Both adults and children can be subject of sextortion. However, in this report it is about adults who coerce and blackmail children over the Internet and force them to send nude photos of themselves or to severely abuse themselves in front of a web camera.

Comments about the result

Sophisticated technology generates cybertips
Richard W Brown, Projektkoordinator, Project VIC.

The result is partly an indication of where child sexual abuse material is shared, but it needs to…

READ MORE

All types of CSA material are shared
INTERPOL, Crimes against Children unit, Vulnerable Communities Team.

INTERPOL’s involvement in social media is minimal, the only type of investigations we do are open source…

READ MORE

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