WASHINGTON, DC (April 5, 2022) – The National Center on Sexual Exploitation (NCOSE) is urging Meta to change its corporate policy when scanning its social platforms for child sexual abuse to “err on the side of children” instead of adults.
The New York Times reported that Meta’s “concerns about mistakenly accusing people of posting illegal imagery have resulted in a policy that could allow photos and videos of abuse to go unreported.” Meta “has instructed content moderators for its platforms to ‘err on the side of an adult’ when they are uncertain about the age of a person in a photo or video, according to a corporate training document.”
“When reports of online child sexual abuse material have increased exponentially, it is imperative for Meta to ensure that sexual abuse is reported to the authorities. Full stop. If there’s even a remote possibility the abuse material is of a child or a teen, it must be reported, not ignored, as is Meta’s current policy. Child sexual abuse material is crime scene imagery of a minor’s rape or exploitation, often depicting children who are still being actively abused and who are in need of intervention. By erring on the side of leaving content up, Meta has likely left countless such minors in the shadows without hope of identification,” said Haley McNamara, vice president of the National Center on Sexual Exploitation.
“Once again, this is a clear example of why the EARN IT Act must be passed in Congress: tech companies need more incentive to prevent and eliminate child sexual abuse.”