In recent years, Facebook has taken measures to curb exploitation, but they have a long way to go as the world’s most popular social networking site. It has become a top place to trade pornography and child pornography, as well as a place of prostitution and sex trafficking.
Facebook is the largest social networking site in the world with more than 1.35 billion users logging in each month. Facebook has strong policies in place that prohibit a wide range of content that would promote sexual exploitation, yet they do not devote sufficient resources to effectively enforce their rules. As a result, Facebook has become a top place to exchange porn and child sexual abuse images and for prostitution, sex trafficking and predators.
A 2011 report revealed that 83% of prostituted women operate on Facebook. Other research shows that most prostitution actually qualifies as sex trafficking. In order to get women and children to perform, pimps & traffickers use fraud, deception, threat or use of force, coercion, and abuse of power or vulnerability. The fact that many are underage when they begin is an additional classification of sex trafficking. These trafficked and prostituted women and children are sold on Facebook daily. Pimps and traffickers also use Facebook to identify potential victims, to gain their trust and to further groom them in preparation for prostitution acts.
Pornography is rampant on the site as well. Hardcore pornography is frequently allowed to remain on the site after users report the material, despite Facebook’s clear guidelines on what is not permitted. Child and child-themed pornography is regularly uploaded and traded via Facebook as well. While Facebook has increased efforts and reports indicate that they are developing software to better find and remove these child sexual abuse images, they really aren’t doing enough as these developments have been promised for years and there is still a growing problem on the site.
Facebook claims to take an active role in keeping their site appropriate for all users. However, they often ignore their Community Standards, which specifically prohibit violence and graphic content (such as that shown in BDSM materials), nudity, pornography, sexual content involving a minor, and regulated goods (such as “adult products” or prostitution).
Facebook depends on reactive moderating, which relies on users to flag and report offensive or sexually explicit content. There are several problems with this system for policing content:
- Users must be further exposed to the inappropriate content if they want to report it;
- Facebook does not take these complaints seriously.
Often, these viewers are children who usually do not understand the consequences and impact such material can have on their development.
Additionally, allowing child porn and other forms of sexual exploitation on Facebook sends the message to predators and exploiters that such activities must be socially acceptable if they are suitable for such a popular website.
If the system worked, one complaint about a page or post would be enough to get it reviewed and removed if it abuses any of the community standards. Unfortunately, inappropriate content is reported to Facebook, often multiple times by multiple users, and that content remains on the website.
We recognize that Facebook is aware of these issues and are making improvements. They know the public is concerned and due to the efforts from Facebook users, the company has attempted to develop better techniques. However, they do not devote sufficient resources to effectively police their site. With your help, we hope to encourage Facebook to continue to improve.
Ask Elected Officials to Amend Communications Decency Act
Ask Congress to help curb child sexual abuse on Facebook
Contact Facebook Directly
Report suspected child pornography and other questionable content to the proper authorities. Please do not seek to police the site on your own, but if you stumble across such content
Protect Your Home
- Monitor your children’s use of the popular site. Regularly have conversations with them about possible content they might encounter and about Internet safety.
- Use tools! Install filter and accountability software on connected devices, use parental controls where possible, etc.
- Make sure your friends and family are aware of the dangers on Facebook and take action to protect against them. Encourage their involvement in this petition to Facebook.
Share your STORY
Personal stories help elected and business leaders to see the grave harm associated with this material and can be very helpful in getting them to change their policies. All will be shared anonymously. Please email your story to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Stay updated on these projects
National Center on Sexual Exploitation and Morality in Media (MIM) announce the 2015 Dirty Dozen List, a compilation of leading contributors to sexual exploitation in America. The list offers actions that the public can take to persuade the Dirty Dozen to change policies and practices.
The 2014 Dirty Dozen List highlights offenders with an explanation of how they contribute to a culture of sexual exploitation.
Attorneys General work with Facebook on privacy concerns, still weak on keeping site clean WASHINGTON, D.C. (April 17, 2013) – Morality in Media applauds Facebook for teaming up with the National Association of Attorneys General to educate on privacy concerns, but this is not enough in the face of widespread distribution of adult and child […]
It’s time to do something about all of the pornography, child pornography, the child predators and the buying and selling of women and children on the world’s favorite website – Facebook. My Experiences (Dawn Hawkins): When I wake up in the morning, one of my first thoughts is that we need to check our Facebook […]