FB coaxing teen girls to befriend topless middle-aged men
Facebook is encouraging girls as young as 13-years to befriend topless middle-aged men, an investigation conducted by The Telegraph found. Teenage girls who join the network are given up to 300 recommendations for people who they might know, as predicted by Facebook’s algorithm, and can therefore add as friends. Many of these suggestions include middle-aged men who are topless in their profile pictures. These men mostly are sexual groomers, who try to find and lure young girls for their perverted sexual pleasures.
Following the revelation, National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (NSPCC), a UK based charity has demanded that friend recommendations be suspended for children. 'Groomers are seeking to infiltrate children's friendship groups on social networks, often with the intention to move children to live streaming or encrypted sites where it is easier for them to commit sexual abuse,’ Andy Burrows, NSPCC Associate Head of Child Safety Online, was quoted as saying.
‘Social media algorithms risk making it easier for groomers to find and contact children and ‘friend of friend’ or ‘new follower’ recommendations can add legitimacy to their requests, which is why we are calling for these features to be blocked for children,’ said Burrows.
‘For too long social networks have failed to make their platforms safe for children, and that is why the Home Secretary must commit to strong and effective regulation to finally ensure that children’s safety is non-negotiable.’
When confronted with the report, Facebook’s response, as was expected, was lackadaisical. A spokesperson for Facebook said, ‘Grooming is incredibly serious, and we have teams specifically focused on keeping children safe, informed by extensive research and outside experts. We use artificial intelligence to proactively identify cases of inappropriate interactions with minors and we refer potential abuse to law enforcement.’
The official statement also said that Facebook limits how children can be found in search results and reminds children to accept friend requests only from people they know.
Also, worth noting is that Instagram—another social networking service owned by Facebook—has even lesser protection in place than Facebook. However, Facebook has said that it is considering rolling out systems for spotting child nudity and grooming to Instagram.
But as we all now know that despite all the hard work that Facebook claims to do be doing to protect our children online, the results speak otherwise. Children on Facebook and other social media platforms it owns still remain open playing fields for perverts looking to groom young girls and exploit them sexually.