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Facebook launches new initiative to tackle child abuse content, two days after NCPCR notice

Facebook's new initiative called 'Report it, don't share it' aims to encourage users to report content related to chid abuse, instead of sharing it.

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New Delhi: Facebook Tuesday launched a new initiative to encourage reporting of content related to child abuse on its social media platforms, instead of sharing it further.

Called ‘Report it, don’t share it’, the initiative was launched in collaboration with civil society organisations like Aarambh India Initiative, Cyber Peace Foundation and Arpan.

This comes just two days after the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) wrote to Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp, Twitter and Telegram asking them to flag illegal posts about adopting orphaned children to relevant authorities.

Due to the aggressive second wave of the pandemic, hundreds of children lost both parents to the virus. Consequently, several illegal posts calling for the adoption of these Covid orphans have been circulating on social media, making children vulnerable to trafficking and child labour.

In its letter to social media platforms, dated 13 June, the national child rights body wrote: “…it is requested that in cases where such posts are posted on your online social media platforms, information about the same must be reported…In case of inaction or non-reporting of the same from your end, to the Commission or to the law enforcement authorities, the Commission will be compelled to take strict action against your good offices”.

Also read: Not just Modi govt’s tug-of-war with social media, balance of power shifting from users anyway

‘Want to foster a safe environment’

The new initiative by Facebook is aimed at encouraging “people to report, and not share such (child abuse) content, so it doesn’t harm children further,” according to the company’s statement.

To better understand why users share child abuse content on Facebook and Instagram, the social media platform carried out an in-depth analysis of “illegal child exploitative content”.

“It was found that more than 90% of this content was the same as or visually similar to previously reported content. A further deep dive revealed that most of this sharing was happening without any intent to harm children,” according to Facebook.

The company had submitted a report on the analysis to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) in October and November 2020.

Actor Neha Dhupia, who is endorsing the Facebook initiative, said, “It may be a well-intentioned way of making people more aware of the negative events around us, but the impact it has on the child who’s the subject of such content is large. So today, in partnership with Facebook, I want to spread awareness that when you see such pieces of content, please DON’T SHARE, rather REPORT IT!”

Meanwhile, Madhu Sirohi, head of policy programmes and outreach, Facebook India said, “We want to foster a safe and supportive environment on Facebook and Instagram and we’re constantly working towards that”.

Also read: ‘Poisonous echo chambers’ — Facebook, Twitter, YouTube algorithms under scrutiny in US


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