The UK-based Internet Watch Foundation (IWF) has revealed that nearly half of the child abuse content in the social media space is being shared openly on micro-blogging platform Twitter.
According to a report in The Telegraph that accessed the IWF data, 49 per cent of the images, videos and URL links it found on social media, search engines and cloud services in the last three years were on Twitter – “making up 1,396 of the total 2,835 incidents”.
This is a scary incident as the child abuse images and videos slipped through Twitter’s filters and were available for anyone to see.
According to the IWF, it helps minimise the availability of online sexual abuse content, specifically child sexual abuse content hosted anywhere in the world. The majority of its work focuses on the removal of child sexual abuse images and videos.
“We search for child sexual abuse images and videos and offer a place for the public to report them anonymously. We then have them removed,” it said on its website.
Microsoft’s Bing search engine was second in the IWF report, with 604 incidents recorded between 2016 and 2018, followed by Amazon with 375 and Google with 348.
“The IWF found 72 incidents of abuse being openly hosted on Facebook, 18 on its sister site Instagram and 22 on YouTube,” said the report.
A Twitter spokesperson replied to the IWF report: “We have serious concerns about the accuracy of these figures and the metrics used to produce them. We will continue to work with the IWF to address their concerns and improve the accuracy of their data”.
Susie Hargreaves OBE, CEO of the IWF said that “our data is accurate and recorded fairly and consistently regardless of where we find child sexual abuse material”.
Microsoft also questioned the IWF data.
Earlier reports claimed that Microsoft’s search engine Bing is still serving child porn, and certain search terms on the platform brought up child porn images and related keywords.
“Microsoft’s Bing search engine reportedly still served up child porn, nearly a year after the tech giant said it was addressing the issue.
“The news comes as part of a report in The New York Times that looks at what the newspaper says is a failure by tech companies to adequately address child pornography on their platforms,” reports CNET.
The tech giant has long been at the forefront of combating abuse imagery, even creating a detection tool called “PhotoDNA” almost a decade ago. But many criminals have turned to its search engine Bing as a reliable tool.
“Part of the issue is privacy, some companies say,” said the report.