Sunday, June 2, 2013

Global Alliance against Minor Exploitation (G.A.M.E.) Open Letter To Facebook, the international media, NGO's and the general public

I/We the undersigned on this day, 1 June 2013, International Children's Day, declare as follows:

Facebook is rife with child sexual abuse material and child exploitation material as well as the stalking, harassment and bullying of minors, which leads to daily actual physical abuse by online sexual predators and groomers luring minors for meet-ups, suicide by teens due to the cyber-bullying, and further with an explosion of child sexual predators collecting and sharing sexually suggestive images and videos of teens in sexualized poses or in undressed states, and making comments of a lewd and sexual nature towards these images of minors.

Facebook hosts thousands of pages and profiles set up for the exclusive intent of collecting vast albums of images of teens and preteens of a sexual nature and encouraging or promoting further sexualization of the said images through allowing lewd and lascivious comments with the intent of sexual arousal or distributing child sexual exploitation content, providing a platform for online grooming of children and finally constituting a permanent re-victimisation of the depicted child.

Facebook hosts pages and profiles on their servers containing indecent and sexually-provocative images of minors yet refuses to remove them.

Pages and groups with names in various languages, such as "07 to 21 year old gays and bisexuals of Mexico", "Sexy Minors of ...", "Boys nudity", "Sexy Teens 13 to 19 Only", "Sexy Milf's and Teens", "Only for boys 11-15", "Sexy People Pre-teens", an Interest list called "pthc, lolicon, toddlercon", "Pies de niños de 13 a 19 años" ( a teen foot fetish group) and thousands of other similar pages, profiles and groups where predators, groomers and pedophiles operate with impunity.

Comments of a lewd and sexual nature towards minors flood these pages. Requests for XXX kids videos and email addresses offered for sending child pornography can be found all over, adults requesting videocam chat with young teens abound, yet Facebook denies it has a problem with child exploitation.

Comments by adults found on just one of the above pages: "seeking children with passive webcam", "I looking for gay boy. Nice add me ", "my mail is ....... and .... that one last belongs to the skype ok there is we will be able to change photo and boy's videos of more than 12 years ok order me photo or video like that that you neis photo and boy's video of more than 12 years and or I add my group ok", "any one who wants to trade kids videos".

Facebook refuses to acknowledge the existence of these problems and mass reporting fails to remove 99% of such content.
Facebook refuses to address the above issues in a legal, moral or socially-responsible manner.

Facebook refuses to remove the above content in a timely and proactive manner.

Facebook refuses to implement an adequate reporting system for above content.

I/We the undersigned therefore demand Facebook institutes a zero-tolerance policy against any and all minor exploitation content of any nature, child sexual predators and groomers, and child stalkers, bullying and harassment of minors, as well as any and all content and activity leading to abuse, exploitation or victimization of minors.

I/We the undersigned further ask of the international media to fully investigate Facebook's current policies and practices of allowing said content and their inaction in escalating multiple reports by the general public of said content for immediate removal.

I/We the undersigned further request all NGO's, civic groups, activists and community leaders involved in the fight against child abuse or the promotion of child safety to join this campaign to ensure a safe online environment for minors on social networks.

I/We the undersigned lastly require the advertisers using the Facebook network to promote their products and services to demand Facebook reviews current policies and implementation and add a clause to advertising contracts that any and all instances of child exploitation, grooming, harassment and bullying shall be removed immediately on receipt of report, with failure to comply resulting in withdrawal of advertising campaigns.

Facebook shall act accordingly without further delay, and with the following proactive measures:

1. Acknowledge the severity of the child abuse, grooming, exploitation and harassment on their site and respectfully cooperate with all those working hard to stop it.

2. Incorporate a priority child abuse report function either integrated into existing report system or as a standalone page similar to reporting under-age profiles or convicted sex offenders.

3. Set up a dedicated Safety Team, adequately staffed, at Facebook HQ manning report stations 24 hours a day and seven days a week.

4. Immediately remove any and all content reported based on the above, and on receipt of ONE report, eliminating the potential for further sharing.

5. Classify all pages, groups and profiles sharing sexually suggestive content of minors under the age of 18 as child exploitation and their immediate removal.

6. The immediate removal of profiles making sexual or lewd comments towards minors displayed on pages, profiles and groups which collect images of teens in sexual poses or semi dressed or share content of or relating to minors.

7. Accept the policy that a minor is a person under the age of 18 according to UN convention and child pornography does not have to include nudity.

8. Improved training for team members who review reports to fall in line with all legal, social and moral responsibilities.

9. Implement the same policy as for hate pages that requires questionable pages of sexual content to publicly attach the personal accounts of all page managers and content creators.

10. Cooperate with activists and child safety groups who work on identifying exploitation and reporting to Facebook and immediately remove content when made aware of such.

To date, hundreds of thousands of Facebook users and members of the general public have signed several online petitions calling for a socially and morally responsible network which puts its under-aged users above financial concerns. However, Facebook has turned a deaf ear.

It is time that Facebook steps forward and bluntly acknowledges the issue and takes responsibility for the gross failure to keep minors safe on Facebook. There are daily reports all over the world in the media of minors being harassed, bullied to suicide, lured from their homes via Facebook by predators and murdered, and child pornography going viral in many cases.

Facebook encourages, promotes and fosters a culture of disrespect, abuse and exploitation of not only women, but also minors of all ages.

Freedom of Speech is not a universal right. There are exceptions, namely obscenity and child pornography, both of which according to 18 U.S.C. § 2256(2) and the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals' interpretation of which includes "tending to excite lust; lewd; indecent; obscene; sexual impurity; tending to deprave the morals in respect to sexual relations." as far as minors are concerned.

Facebook, it is time to start doing the right thing and protect those who are most vulnerable without any further delay or excuses.

The international community, your subscribers, expect it.

The Global Alliance against Minor Exploitation (G.A.M.E.)


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