Friday October 18, 2019
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Teenage Girls Being Urged To Befriend ‘Middle-Aged Men’ On Facebook: Report

In October, Facebook had removed 8.7 million user images of child nudity

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Fake News, Facebook, dating
Intel, Facebook working on cheaper AI chip. VOA

Facebook is encouraging grooming by offering teenage girls middle-aged men as ‘friend suggestions’, the media reported.

Teenage girls, as young as 13-year-olds, who join the social network are given up to 300 suggestions for who they can add as friends, some of which include middle-aged men who are topless in their profile photos, The Telegraph reported late on Saturday.

Facebook has said that was not a typical experience for teenagers for signing up for the service and that it has safeguards built into its recommendation system.

Following the findings, UK-based charity the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (NSPCC) has called for friend recommendations to be suspended for children on the social networking giant’s platform.

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A cellphone user looks at a Facebook page at a shop in Latha street, Yangon, Myanmar. VOA

‘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.

“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,” she said.

According to Facebook, the company has safeguards to protect children. However, the campaigners warn that the networking giant must do more to stop groomers who use the site to become friendly with children.

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This photo shows a Facebook app icon on a smartphone in New York. VOA

“Grooming is incredibly serious, and we have teams specifically focused on keeping children safe, informed by extensive research and outside experts,” said a spokesman for Facebook, the Daily Mail reported on Saturday.

“We use artificial intelligence to proactively identify cases of inappropriate interactions with minors and we refer potential abuse to law enforcement.

“We limit how children can be found in search, we remind them to only accept friend requests from people they know and we caution them before making public posts.”

Also Read: Twitter Giving Its Users More Freedom To Report Fake, Suspicious Accounts

In October, Facebook had removed 8.7 million user images of child nudity with the help of previously undisclosed machine learning software that automatically flagged such photos during the last quarter.

The company has said that it is also considering rolling out systems for spotting child nudity and grooming to Instagram. (IANS)

Next Story

Salesforce CEO Calls Facebook as ‘New Cigarettes’ for Kids

Zuckerberg, however, has promised his employees to "fight and win" if Democratic presidential hopeful Warren wins the 2020 election and moves forward with her stated plan to break up the big US tech firms

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FILE - Attendees walk past a Facebook logo during Facebook Inc's F8 developers conference in San Jose, California, United States. VOA

Pitching for breaking up Facebook, US-based software giant Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff has called the social networking platform “new cigarettes” which are making kids addictive.

Responding to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s announcement that he will make a speech about his views on free expression, Benioff said the company must be held accountable now.

“Facebook is a publisher. They need to be held accountable for propaganda on their platform. We must have standards & practices decided by law. FB is the new cigarette – it’s addictive, bad for us, & our kids are being drawn in. We need to abolish section 230 Indemnifying them,” he tweeted on Wednesday.

Section 230 of the US Communications Decency Act of 1996 gives automatic liability protection to social media firm for any content posted by their users.

In an interview with CNN later, the Salesforce chief pushed for the breakup of Facebook.

“They’re also acquiring other companies and co-mingling (data)… they probably should be broken up because they’re having an undue influence as the largest social media platform on the planet,” he was quoted as saying.

Fake, News, WhatsApp, Facebook, India
The Facebook mobile app on an Android smartphone. Wikimedia Commons

Zuckerberg was scheduled to make a speech on free expression on Thursday.

“Why I believe voice is important, how giving people voice and bringing people together go hand in hand, how we might address the challenges that more voice and the internet introduce, and the major threats to free expression around the world,” Zuckerberg posted.

Several US lawmakers like Senators Kamala Harris and Elizabeth Warren have been pitching to break up Facebook.

Also Read: NASA Making a ‘Rigorous’ Search for Vikram with Fresh Lunar Pictures

Warren in fact successfully run a fake ad on the social media platform that claimed “Mark Zuckerberg and Facebook just endorsed Donald Trump for re-election”.

Zuckerberg, however, has promised his employees to “fight and win” if Democratic presidential hopeful Warren wins the 2020 election and moves forward with her stated plan to break up the big US tech firms. (IANS)