Facebook Faces Ire from a Vigilante Group for Its Inaction Against Paedophiles
A vigilante group has strongly criticized the social networking site Facebook for its alledged apathy towards paedophiles, who are still sharing child pornography pictures and videos on its site.
An investigation that was carried out showed there are countless profiles and groups created by paedophiles - sometimes using their real names - who publish child pornography images and videos on the site.
A group of concerned netizens from around the world, including at least one in Australia, have launched a vigilante group dubbed Social Network Safety Watch (SoNeSaW) after lack of action from Facebook.
It was discovered that paedophiles add a series of keywords to their profiles such as, "lolita", "hussyfan", "r@ygold" and "PTHC" (pre-teen hardcore), to find and connect with other child predators.
The research carried out on the site found some users who list their location as Australia, and they were referred to the Australian Federal Police for investigation.
Members of the SoNeSaW vigilante group create dummy Facebook profiles and infiltrate the child porn networks. Many of the vilest images and videos are traded in high-level hidden groups, which users need to be invited to.
An Australian SoNeSaW member said the profiles have been reported to Facebook, and even though the site disables them, they are remade within hours and continue to do the same thing.
"It takes usually 50-100 of us to report a profile before it is removed, and this can still take several days. Then they come back and we report again and it takes a long time to get rid of them again - it's just not good enough," the Sydney Morning Herald quoted the member as saying.
She said she hoped countries would pressure the US government to lay charges against Facebook for "criminal negligence" in hosting child porn groups and enabling the swapping of child porn.
The group also reports child predators to police but there are significant issues in identifying the users and their location and then notifying police in the correct jurisdiction.
A US member of the SoNeSaW group, who did not want to be identified, has set up a blog, facebookwatcher.blogspot.com, on which she catalogues some of the child predator profiles she finds.
"The blog is just the tip of the iceberg ... Facebook's efforts to deal with this have been under whelming but the problem is bigger than just them," she stated in a phone interview.
But experts spoken to agree that the child porn problem is difficult to address, as the predators use a variety of tools to mask their IP addresses and get around any bans.