Wednesday November 13, 2019
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Dating Apps Questioned Over Age Verification After Child Abuse Cases

Launched in 2012, Tinder has 57 million users around the world and Grindr, founded as a gay dating app in 2009, has 27 million users worldwide

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Dating apps Tinder and Grindr were being questioned over their age verification requirements after several child abuse cases came into light.

“Lax controls on apps used by millions, such as Tinder and Grindr are giving sexual predators and paedophiles easy access to children,” Britain’s The Sunday Times said in a report.

About 30 incidents of child rape have been investigated since 2015 in the UK alone.

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A man uses the dating app Tinder in New Delhi, India. (VOA)

“Documents reveal 60 further cases of child sex offences via online dating services, including grooming, kidnapping and violent sexual assault,” the report said on Monday.

A person 18 years or older cannot see Tinder profiles of users aged 17 and under. Similarily teenagers can view only profiles within the 13-17 age group, information available on public domain suggests.

The report, however, raised questions on the security of app users on such popular dating sites.

“We are consistently evaluating and refining our processes to prevent underage access, and will always work with law enforcement, where possible, to protect our users as well. We don’t to want minors on Tinder. Period,” The Verge quoted a Tinder spokesperson as saying.

Tinder Dating App. Source: Digital Trends

The dating companies claimed to have been using algorithmic and human screening tools to keep children from using their apps.

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“We are saddened to learn of these reports. Grindr is committed to creating a safe and secure environment to help our community connect and thrive, and any account of sexual abuse or other illegal behavior is troubling to us as well as a clear violation of our terms of service. We are constantly working to improve our tools,” a Grindr spokesperson said.

Launched in 2012, Tinder has 57 million users around the world and Grindr, founded as a gay dating app in 2009, has 27 million users worldwide. (IANS)

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Twitter Shares Child Abuse Content On Social Media: IWF

IWF report says that Twitter leads to child abuse content

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IWF report revealed that most of the child abuse content on social media is shared by Twitter. Pixabay

The UK-based Internet Watch Foundation (IWF) has revealed that nearly half of the child abuse content in the social media space is being shared openly on micro-blogging platform Twitter.

According to a report in The Telegraph that accessed the IWF data, 49 per cent of the images, videos and url links it found on social media, search engines and cloud services in the last three years were on Twitter – “making up 1,396 of the total 2,835 incidents”.

This is a scary incident as the child abuse images and videos slipped through Twitter’s filters and were available for anyone to see.

According to the IWF, it helps minimise the availability of online sexual abuse content, specifically child sexual abuse content hosted anywhere in the world. The majority of its work focuses on the removal of child sexual abuse images and videos.

“We search for child sexual abuse images and videos and offer a place for the public to report them anonymously. We then have them removed,” it said on its website.

Microsoft’s Bing search engine was second in the IWF report, with 604 incidents recorded between 2016 and 2018, followed by Amazon with 375 and Google with 348.

“The IWF found 72 incidents of abuse being openly hosted on Facebook, 18 on its sister site Instagram and 22 on YouTube,” said the report.

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Earlier reports claimed that Microsoft’s search engine Bing is still serving child porn. Pixabay

A Twitter spokesperson replied to the IWF report: “We have serious concerns about the accuracy of these figures and the metrics used to produce them. We will continue to work with the IWF to address their concerns and improve the accuracy of their data”.

Susie Hargreaves OBE, CEO of the IWF said that “our data is accurate and recorded fairly and consistently regardless of where we find child sexual abuse material”.

Microsoft also questioned the IWF data.

Earlier reports claimed that Microsoft’s search engine Bing is still serving child porn, and certain search terms on the platform brought up child porn images and related keywords.

“Microsoft’s Bing search engine reportedly still served up child porn, nearly a year after the tech giant said it was addressing the issue.

“The news comes as part of a report in The New York Times that looks at what the newspaper says is a failure by tech companies to adequately address child pornography on their platforms,” reports CNET.

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The tech giant has long been at the forefront of combating abuse imagery, even creating a detection tool called “PhotoDNA” almost a decade ago. But many criminals have turned to its search engine Bing as a reliable tool.

“Part of the issue is privacy, some companies say,” said the report. (IANS)