Hontiveros flags another FB group used by teens for trading lewd photos, videos | Inquirer Technology
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Hontiveros flags another FB group used by teens for trading lewd photos, videos

/ 10:46 AM March 10, 2021

Senator Risa Hontiveros, chairperson of the Senate Committee on Women, Children, Family Relations, and Gender Equality. (Joseph Vidal/Senate PRIB)

MANILA, Philippines — Senator Risa Hontiveros on Wednesday flagged another Facebook group, which has 20,000 members, supposedly being used by teenagers to trade lewd content and sexual favors to fund online education expenses.

“Hindi lahat may internet. Hindi lahat may pera para magpa-load araw araw. Hindi lahat may cellphone at laptop. Kaya ang ibang estudyante, napilitan na magbenta ng mga malalaswang larawan at videos nila para matustusan ang kanilang pag-aaral,” said Hontiveros, chairperson of the Senate Committee on Women, Children, Family Relations, and Gender Equality.

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(Not everyone has access to the internet. Not everyone has the money to buy load every day. Not everyone has a cellphone or laptop. That’s why some students are forced to sell lewd photos or videos to fund their studies.)

Before this, the senator, during her panel’s hearing on Tuesday, raised concerns over a 7,000-member Facebook group, which is being used for similar purposes. The social media giant already took the said page down.

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But upon further investigation, Hontiveros’ office discovered another group with similar content, called Blueroom, which has over 20,000 members.

“In the Blueroom, there are screenshots of conversations about how much load will be paid to a certain account in exchange for sexual activities via video chat,” the senator said.

“Hindi natin alam kung mga menor de edad sila [We are not yet sure if there are minors included in the group]. Facebook must look into this immediately, and cooperate with law enforcement to clamp down on these online crimes,” she added.

Hontiveros also called on social media networks to take a more proactive approach in detecting such content in their platforms.

“Social media networks must be more proactive. They have the duty to use the sophistication of their technology to put an end to this exploitation,” she said.

“Unahin dapat nila ang kapakanan ng ating kabataan, hindi ang kanilang kita,” she added.

(They should prioritize the welfare of our youth, not their profit.)

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Senator Francis Pangilinan also issued a similar appeal to social media platforms.

“There should be a more proactive response rather than just rely on reports. The difficulty with reporting as was earlier manifested in some of the experiences, it would take several months,” Pangilinan said during Tuesday’s hearing.

“But if there is a proactive immediate takedown response from Google and all other media platforms, it would be better,” he added.

During the same hearing, Facebook said that in 2020, it has removed 5.4 million pieces of child nudity and sexual exploitation content from their platform across the world, 98.8 percent of which were removed even before they were reported to them.

Facebook Head of Safety in the Asia-Pacific Region Amber Hawkes informed senators that the social media network has around 35,000 employees working on safety and security, with over 15,000 content reviewers to ensure prompt response to reports.

Meanwhile, Google’s representative told the committee that 94 percent or 8.8 million of videos taken down on their platforms were machine-detected. No data focused on the Philippines is yet available.

/MUF

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TOPICS: Exploitation, Facebook, group, nation, News, onlie sexual abuse, OSAEC, Senator Risa Hontiveros
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