Facebook is as safe as you make it, but disregarding all of the privacy and security settings can be dangerous.
After we first posted about a 34-year old Kansas City man charged with producing child pornography and attempting to blackmail someone contacted over Facebook, the company reached out to us with the following statement.
Nothing is more important to Facebook than the safety of the people that use our site and this material has absolutely no place on Facebook.Unfortunately, people have attempted to use technology to distribute illegal and deeply offensive content from the earliest days of the public Internet. We have zero tolerance for this activity on Facebook and are extremely aggressive in preventing and removing child exploitive content as well as reporting it and the people responsible for it to law enforcement. We’ve built complex technical systems that either block the creation of this content, including in private groups, or flag it for quick review by our team of investigations professionals.Additionally, we maintain a robust reporting infrastructure that leverages the over 500 million people who use our site to keep an eye out for offensive or potentially dangerous content. This reporting infrastructure includes report links on pages across the Facebook site, systems to prioritize the most serious reports, and a trained team of analysts who respond to reports and escalate them to law enforcement as needed. This team treats reports of exploitative content as an utmost priority.We’ve also worked with the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children and New York State Attorney General Andrew Cuomo in the U.S., as well as the Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre in the UK, to use known databases of child exploitive material to improve our detection and bring those responsible to justice.We’re constantly refining and improving our systems and processes. However, we feel we’ve created a much safer environment on Facebook than exists off-line, where people can share this material in the privacy of their own homes without anyone watching.
Police had caught up with the alleged producer of child pornography after an informant, age 30, told police that a girl had contacted him through Facebook, telling him she was 17 years old; after chatting with the girl online, the two met in person and had sex, reports Mark Morris for The Kansas City Star.
When the two met for a second sex session, it is alleged that 34-year-old Corey McKinley appeared, told the informant he had been filmed while having sex with the girl and that the girl was actually 16. Allegedly, McKinley offered not to go public about the encounter if the informant paid him $400.
The informant later gave an envelope filled with $500 to a security guard. Court reports allege that McKinley approached the guard to get the cash, at which point authorities arrested McKinley, taking the girl in custody.
Unfortunately, it’s far from the first time the pedaling of child porn has occurred on Facebook. You may recall that we reported about a 24-year-old man accused of circulating a photo of an underage girl having sex with him via Facebook in January 2011, and in December 2010, we reported that six men who were indicted for distributing or attempting to view child pornography used Facebook for a portion of their dirty work.
It’s easy to forget who the real victim is here. There’s a minor at the center of this story, a 16-year-old girl, a ploy, who somehow got wrapped up in this dirty, rotten mess. It’s also easy to forget that social networks can be used for much more than the fun among friends they were intended to promote.