Saturday, February 17, 2018
Tech & The Web

Facebook Warning: Don’t Share Child Porn Viral Post

Over the weekend, a Facebook warning urged users to avoid sharing posts that appear to show a young child being forced to perform a sex act.

As investigators across the country became aware of viral posts that appear to be child porn, Facebook alerted its users over the weekend about the risk of sharing the posts.

The video appears to show a young child being forced to perform a sex act on a man and the latest speculation is that it was recorded somewhere in Alabama. Authorities are said to be investigating the source of the video.

I hope they find it quickly and I hope they rescue that child.

But Facebook users, apparently thinking they’re helping the situation, may be getting themselves into serious legal trouble.

“We do not allow the sharing of child exploitative images on Facebook or Messenger — even to express outrage,” the statement attributed to Facebook read. “Regardless of intention, sharing such imagery is harmful and illegal. When we become aware of such images, we remove them and notify the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. We urge people never to share such content and to report it to local authorities immediately.”

The statement comes after people across the country were sharing video that purported to show a young girl performing a sex act on a man. The sentiment of the shares seems to be to make the post go viral so law enforcement can step in and investigate it.

The problem is that sharing child porn makes you guilty of distributing it, and even if you’re doing it to get help for the child, you could face criminal prosecution. Downloading it, saving it or sharing it in any way could result in felony charges, authorities told WTKR.

It’s a case of social media being out of sync with real life.

The messages generally have a common theme: “Make this go viral.” These days, that’s the first thing people say when they’re offended by something, whether it’s as serious as footage of an officer-involved shooting to something as unimportant (in the grand scheme of things) as getting the wrong order at the drive-thru window.

Unfortunately, the users calling for their friends to help make the image go viral seem unable to process the bigger picture: aside from the fact that sharing the content is against the law, why would they want to further victimize the child by plastering her face all over the internet for the world to see…for generations to come?

Common sense, even when people have the best of intentions, needs to prevail in situations like this. Don’t share it to your friends: call the police!

It’s also a case of authorities being out of sync with social media.

Memphis Police issued a statement urging people who receive the images through their Facebook messenger to delete them. But there’s no apparent way to delete a message on Facebook messenger: once someone sends it, there it sits.

With no way for a user to delete such a post if they receive it, they’re stuck with it until Facebook steps in and removes the image themselves — assuming they can find it. But there may at least be hope there. The Facebook spokesperson also said, according to KLFY-TV, every image uploaded to Facebook since 2011 is scanned with PhotoDNA technology, which scans and “flags known child exploitative material to prevent future uploads of imagery from surfacing on the platform.”

It would be fantastic if their technology would allow them to go back through their system and remove all instances of the imagery, even images and video thumbnails that have already been shared across the platform.

We can only hope police can find and rescue that child. And we can hope people won’t make a bad situation even worse as they wait for word.

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Patrick
Patrick is a Christian with more than 26 years experience in professional writing, producing and marketing. His professional background also includes social media, reporting for broadcast television and the web, directing, videography and photography. He enjoys getting to know people over coffee and spending time with his dog.