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Online social networking giants are accused of being complicit in surge of paedophiles accessing child abuse images every 23 minutes online
- Increasing number of paedophiles accused of accessing child abuse images
- National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children blames social media
- Number of child abuse image offences recorded up 25 per cent on previous year
- Social networking sites are accused of not doing enough to tackle child abuse
The number of paedophiles accused of accessing online child abuse images has rocketed – with a new case now recorded every 23 minutes.
Social media giants are to blame, the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (NSPCC) has claimed, warning that sites are not doing enough to ensure their platforms are safe.
In the past year the number of child abuse image offences recorded by police has soared to 22,724 – up almost 25 per cent on the previous year, figures released by the charity today reveal.
The number of paedophiles accused of accessing online child abuse images has rocketed – with a new case now recorded every 23 minutes (stock image)
Social media giants are to blame, the NSPCC has claimed, warning that sites are not doing enough to ensure their platforms are safe (stock image)
And, as pressure grows on sites to take action against predators, the NSPCC has shared details of calls made to its sister service Childline from terrified young people coerced into sending explicit pictures of themselves to adults.
One 14-year-old girl told the charity: ‘I was talking to a guy online who is much older than me. We sent each other nude pictures and now he wants to meet up to have sex with me. I am worried he could find me.
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‘I am embarrassed and I’m worried about getting into trouble.’
Figures obtained by the NSPCC under the Freedom of Information Act reveal that, on average, an offence was recorded by a police force in Britain every 23 minutes between 2017 and 2018.
Home Secretary Sajid Javid (above) spoke earlier this month at the Home Office in London where he described his shock at discovering the scale of the danger posed by paedophiles on the internet and outlined his ‘personal mission’ to tackle child abuse in all its forms
Minister tells them: Take responsibility
By Eleanor Harding
Technology companies must show a ‘duty of care’ to their users and take more ‘responsibility’ for cyberbullying, extremism and web addiction, a minister has said.
Science minister Sam Gyimah said that while he ‘welcomes innovation’ from social media giants, this must come hand-in-hand with a social conscience.
His words come amid increasing concerns about young children accessing inappropriate material online and being relentlessly pursued by bullies. Web giants have also come under fire for failing to take down videos which glorify terrorism.
Mr Gyimah said tech companies needed to take on the same corporate responsibilities as more traditional firms. Speaking at the University of Buckingham Festival of Higher Education, he said: ‘When you look at oil companies, gas companies, over time we have recognised that these big companies have big responsibilities.
‘Social media companies have now come of age and while we want technology to flourish … we want to see them exercising that kind of responsibility.’
And the number of pictures accessed or created could be hundreds of times higher than the figures suggest, with offenders often accessing scores of images at once but only being found guilty of a single charge.
Tony Stower, NSPCC’s head of child safety online, said: ‘Every one of these images represents a real child who has been groomed and abused.
‘The lack of adequate protections on social networks has given offenders easy access to children.
‘This is the last chance saloon for social networks on whose platforms this abuse is often taking place.’ The NSPCC is demanding the Government clamps down on social media giants and gives them a rule book they must follow to keep children safe. It says the web is like the ‘Wild West’, with each company playing by its own rules.
The NSPCC’s Andy Burrows said: ‘Let’s be really clear, the industry has not done enough to try and tackle child abuse on social network sites and that is where we need to see the Government step in and force the big platforms to take the steps they won’t take themselves,’
The NSPCC’s figures come after the Home Office revealed that the number of child abuse images referred to the National Crime Agency had risen by 700 per cent in the past five years.
Facebook co-founder and chief executive officer Mark Zuckerberg (above) spoke during an event at the Facebook headquarters
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