October 26, 2010

Facebook Asleep at the Wheel... Again
 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                  News Release
October 26, 2010                                                                         
 
Media Contact
Cris Clapp Logan: 703-476-7890
crisclapp@enough.org
                                                                                                      

                                                                                                               

Facebook Asleep at the Wheel... Again

Washington, D.C. - Facebook, the world's largest social network is allowing pedophiles and child predators to post potentially illegal photographs of children on its website.  A weeks-long investigation by FoxNews.com published last week found an "underworld" of content that clearly violates not only Facebook's terms of use, but which also may include visual depictions of child sexual abuse, including hundreds of pages with the terms "incest" and "PTHC" (pre-teen, hard-core) in their titles.
 
"Where kids play, predators prey.  Predators and pedophiles are taking advantage of this site to target children, swap child pornography and share their exploits.  It is entirely unacceptable that Facebook has allowed this content to surface on its site, and I fear this is only the tip of the iceberg," commented Enough Is Enough® President Donna Rice Hughes.
 
Facebook employs content filters that automatically scan for basic keywords that the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) identifies as being associated with material that exploits children.  Unfortunately for Facebook, and the children being abused in the videos and photographs on the site, much of the content found during the investigation did include terms present in NCMEC's list, indicating that if Facebook had been using the list as it should, much of the content found would not have been available on the site.
 
"Facebook continues to focus on increasing its friend list rather than proactively identifying and removing users who are determined to exploit children online," commented Hemanshu (Hemu) Nigam, Founder, SSP Blue, and Internet safety expert.
 
Facebook's automatic aggregation system also pulls "global posts" on certain topics to community pages dedicated to those same topics.  This means, as FoxNews reports, that "someone who innocently writes on her wall that she's going out partying with 'her girls' can wind up appearing on a 'young girls' community page created, 'liked' and monitored by a pedophile".
 
"This just continues to demonstrate that parents must be involved; while spaces like Facebook offer many opportunities for kids to connect, create and collaborate online, they also have provided an entrance into a world of dangerous, exploitative content just a few clicks away from any unsuspecting or curious teen."  Continued Ms. Rice Hughes, "Parents have to remain alert; they need to monitor who their kids are connecting with, what type of content they are posting online, and use Internet Safety Rules 'N Tools on social networking sites like Facebook and across all Internet-enabled devices to protect their children."
 
During filming for Enough Is Enough®'s Internet Safety 101SM program, EIE President Donna Rice Hughes spent time talking with a convicted sex offender in a high security prison regarding how he gained an appetite for child pornography and how he used the anonymity of the Internet to target youth.  Portions of this interview can be seen in the Predator section of EIE's site here.
 
"Over the past ten years, we have seen a sort of perfect-storm scenario emerge for Internet-initiated sexual crime against children.  Never before have predators and pedophiles been able to hold a town hall together to share their exploits and encourage this type of horrific behavior, but now, through sites like Facebook, they can do just that.  We find that these individuals are often at the cutting edge of technology, they have easy access to child pornography and to children, and law enforcement, the technology industry and parents are often left in the dust, which is why we focus on reaching those parents and educating about prevention," added Ms. Rice Hughes.
 
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About Enough Is Enough®
 
Donna Rice Hughes is President of Enough Is Enough® (EIE), a non-partisan, 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, which emerged in 1994 as the national leader on the front lines to make the Internet safer for children and families. Since then, EIE has continued to pioneer efforts including the widely acclaimed Internet Safety 101SM program, which educates, equips and empowers parents, educators and other caring adults with the knowledge and resources needed to effectively protect children from pornography, sexual predators, and cyberbullies as well as how to keep kids safe on social networking sites, gaming and mobile devices. Contact Us for more information.