The exploitation of children is not something that’s happening in the shadows.
It’s happening at a place used by some 500 million people.
It’s happening on Facebook and it’s a growing problem
FOX23’s Abbie Alford investigates the plague of child porn on Facebook and what’s being done to stop it.
Graphic photos are found on Facebook, "These are underage girls. She can't be more than 10 years old," says Tulsa’s Chapter Director for Stop Child Trafficking Now, Jason Weis. "That looks like a little tiny girl tied up."
Weis then finds a little girl partially naked that doesn’t look older than eight years old. He finds another little girl posing without her pants.
Then he clicks on the users friends and finds a whole network of potential child predators.
"It's obvious, what he's into,” Weis points out a cartoon that’s posted on the users Facebook page and the caption in child’s bubble. ‘"Don't worry I won't tell anyone, Daddy. I promise. It's our secret. What do you think that means?"
You discover it’s a world where pedophiles are lurking and talking in code.
"Look here, ‘13,14,15,16,17’, a taste for women. That's his ages," says Weis. "What I am surprised is that it is here and it is blatant, graphic, full color photos to see with no age restrictions. It's blatant right there in your face. Literally a mouse click away," says Weis.
Weis says it’s becoming easier for potential predators to show up on Facebook under a new name.
"Pedophiles have made child pornography, rape, bestiality, incest, mainstream on Facebook,” says Weis.
In his brief investigation Weis says he found hundreds of disturbing pictures of children and potential predators on Facebook.
"This is more sinister, this is child pornography this child exploitation," says Weis.
In an e-mail Facebook released this statement,
“We have devoted significant resources to keeping offensive content off of Facebook — we have a robust reporting infrastructure and a large team of professional reviewers who remove thousands of photos a day from the site that violate our policies,” says Facebook Public Policy Communication Manager, Andrew Noyes.
However, advocates against child predators say ask if it’s enough.
"They are not policing this to the degree that they should," says Weis.
Facebook says it does not tolerate child porn, “…Facebook takes down illegal material as soon as it is reported to us. In the rare case where we believe content may constitute child pornography, we take down the content immediately, use a sophisticated system to block any further sharing of that content, and actually pull it back from any users who received the content. More importantly, we share the content with the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children and then report the user to law enforcement. “
Still parents need to know this appears on Facebook everyday.
"You need to be proactive because if you are not this is going to come knocking on your door," says Weis.
He says parents need to be more aware and recommends programs such as Social Shield that monitors your child’s activity on social sites. It’s a program that will also send you alerts of potential predators who are child’s friend.
"Being your friend on Facebook isn't going to be enough to monitor what your child is doing. You need to go deeper, you need to get Social Shield or some type of software that digs into the friends, finds out who they are chatting with who their friends are," says Weis. "Call me old fashion but my child will not have a Facebook page as long as that is going to be on there."
Facebook relies on legitimate users reporting child porn. Some of the Facebook profiles FOX23 News reports have already been removed.
You can also report child porn to the FBI and the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children.