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New Campaign Targets Big Tech Allowing Spread of Child Sexual Abuse Material

Photo from Ales Nesetril on Unsplash

New Campaign Targets Big Tech Allowing Spread of Child Sexual Abuse Material

By Movieguide® Contributor

ChildFund International started a campaign to raise awareness about the prevalence of child sexual abuse material in America and pressure lawmakers to crack down on its spread through social media.

“While U.S. tech companies are legally required to report child sexual abuse imagery once they’ve been made aware of it, they’re not required to proactively search for it. There is also no punishment for platforms that don’t remove it quickly, and there are not standards for transparency and accountability,” ChildFund explains.

This has caused the number of child sexual abuse materials to explode. In the last year alone, 27 million unique files of this kind of material were reported.

To combat this rampant spread, ChildFund International created the #TAKEITDOWN campaign to “protect children from sexual abuse and exploitation on the internet.”

The campaign’s promo video follows a seemingly normal man who dons a monster mask while browsing the internet alone, revealing his predatory behavior that would otherwise be unseen.

“Children, when they do their drawings, they will depict the perpetrator as a monster,” Michelle Miller, a former child trauma therapist who now works for the National Children’s Alliance, told People, explaining the striking visualization. 

“The video of the monster is amazing,” she added. “I think that even for someone who isn’t as involved in this work as I am, so, that caregiver, that parent, an older sibling, a legislator, I think that it very accurately portrays that. And I think that people will have a reaction to that.”

The campaign hopes to raise awareness and enable people to make a difference by connecting them with lawmakers who have the power to hold tech companies accountable for allowing this behavior to spread on their sites.

“We decided that we wanted to do this publipublic-facingaign that was front and center,” ChildFund’s director of policy, Danielle Lilly, told People. “The name #TAKEITDOWN really stems from taking down child sexual abuse materials and really trying to put some pressure on tech companies to recognize that this is a problem and something that they need to address.”

It is expensive for tech companies to comb their sites for these images and take them down, and no laws or regulations require them to do so. The campaign hopes to change this and create national laws that hold companies accountable for the materials shared on their sites.

“I think the public is very, very behind legislation and regulation and the support there is definitely big,” Jim Cole, a retired Homeland Security Investigations agent who specialized in child exploitation investigation, told People. “Just need more awareness, more education.”

Movieguide® previously reported:

The National Center on Sexual Exploitation (NCOSE) recently released its 2023 ‘Dirty Dozen’ list. 

“The Dirty Dozen List is an annual campaign calling out twelve mainstream entities for facilitating or profiting from sexual abuse and exploitation,” the NCOSE explained

Additionally, the Dirty Dozen List is an activism tool enabling large-scale change. The list provides tangible steps that can be taken to hold companies accountable such as emailing legislators, signing petitions to corporate executives, and pre-crafted social media messages. 

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