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Reports: IS Trafficking in Yazidi Slaves Via Social Media

The Associated Press is reporting that IS is advertising via encrypted messages the "sale" of Yazidi women, an ethnic group indigenous to Iraq that has been targeted by IS.

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IS trafficking in Yazidi. Image Sources: www.abc.net.au
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  • IS advertises via encrypted messages the “sale” of Yazidi women, an ethnic group indigenous to Iraq 
  • The slaves are said to be held against their will and often subjected to rape as well as forced labour
  • IS kidnapped thousands of Yazidi women and children in August 2014 when it attacked their homes and villages in northwestern Iraq near the border with Syria

Members of the Islamic State group have started advertising women and children for sale on social networking applications such as WhatsApp, Facebook and Telegram, says reports.

IS trafficking women and children. Image Sources: www.bbc.com
IS trafficking women and children. Image Sources: www.bbc.com

The Associated Press is reporting that IS is advertising via encrypted messages the “sale” of Yazidi women, an ethnic group indigenous to Iraq that has been targeted by IS.

A spokesman for the U.S. State Department, John Kirby, told AP the United States continues “to be appalled by credible reports that Daesh [Islamic State] is trafficking in human beings, and sex slavery in particular.”

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“This depravity,” he said, “not only speaks to the degree to which Daesh cheapens life and repudiates the Islamic faith, it also strengthens our resolve to defeat them.”

Islamic State kidnapped thousands of Yazidi women and children in August 2014 when it attacked their homes and villages in northwestern Iraq near the border with Syria. Iraqi Kurdish forces backed by U.S. airstrikes have since recaptured some of that territory, but many children have been orphaned and many young women are believed to have been taken into slavery.

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The slaves are said to be held against their will and often subjected to rape as well as forced labor. While some women have escaped, they say the slaves are closely tracked and are often recovered, only to face punishment.

One escapee, Nadia Mourad, has spoken to U.S. and European lawmakers about getting more help for the Yazidis.

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“They are being used as human shields,” she told the European Parliament. “They are not allowed to escape or flee. Probably they will be assassinated. Where is the world in all this? Where is humanity?”

Telegram messenger. Image Source: www.independent.co.uk
Telegram messenger. Image Source: www.independent.co.uk

A representative for Telegram, a messaging app, said the company regularly removes public channels used by Islamic State and is committed to preventing abuse of the service. (VOA)

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Australia Proposes To Strengthen Regulations of Facebook, Google

Facebook has 17 million monthly users in Australia -- 68 per cent of its population -- while Instagram, second most popular site in terms of users - which is owned by Facebook, has 11 million users

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Australia recommends strengthening regulation of Facebook, Google. Pixabay

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) on Monday proposed measures to counter the dominant market positions of Google and Facebook and strengthen monitoring on their access to information, advertising and consumers personal data.

The regulatory body, which recommended 11 preliminary measures in the report, was directed to conduct a public inquiry into the impact of digital search engines, social media platforms and other digital content in 2017 by then treasurer and current Prime Minister Scott Morrison.

“Acting as an intermediary between consumers and news outlets, platforms are inherently influential in shaping consumers’ choices of digital journalism,” said the report cited by Efe news.

This influential position and filtration of news items could place the consumer in a so-called filter bubble, increasing the risk of consumers being exposed to unreliable news, according to the report.

“The algorithms operated by each of Google and Facebook, as well as other policies, determine which content is surfaced and displayed to consumers in news feed and search results,” it said.

“The ACCC considers that the strong market position of digital platforms like Google and Facebook justifies a greater level of regulatory oversight,” Chair Rod Sims said.

Facebook
Facebook, social media. Pixabay

The commission called for the creation of a regulatory authority with powers to monitor these digital platforms and recommended establishing an automatic mechanism to take down content that violates copyright.

The ACCC said consumers should be informed about the manner in which these platforms collect and use their data to create personalized advertising.

This would include a reform of privacy laws to require the user’s express consent to data collection and “enable consumers to require erasure of their personal information where they have withdrawn their consent”.

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ACCC said that it found that “competition may have been distorted in multiple sectors where consumer data is used”.

Facebook has 17 million monthly users in Australia — 68 per cent of its population — while Instagram, second most popular site in terms of users – which is owned by Facebook, has 11 million users.

In 2017, Google registered 90 per cent of search traffic originating from Australian desktops and 98 per cent from mobile phones. (IANS)