June 9, 2023

Instagram: Network for Pedos?

The Wall Street Journal breaks a chilling exposé on the popular social media’s dark underbelly.

It has long been acknowledged that social media is anything but a promoter of healthy societal relationships. But this latest exposé by The Wall Street Journal (WSJ) is absolutely chilling. Investigative journalists found that “Instagram connects pedophiles and guides them to content sellers via recommendation systems that excel at linking those who share niche interests.”

The WSJ teamed up with Stanford University and the University of Massachusetts Amherst to conduct their investigative research. What they uncovered was that Instagram in particular and Meta Platforms in general are allowing pedophiles to create a network to buy and sell child sexual material. According to the Journal, Meta accounts for 85% of reported child pornography to the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children — a nonprofit that helps to identify and take down such images of children.

Meta has sophisticated algorithmic tools in place to track and stop this explicit, exploitative, and illegal activity on Instagram. The algorithms have, in fact, previously taken down 27 similar pedophile networks and actively suppress hashtags that are linked to pedophilic content. However, three WSJ journalists were able to tap into this evil filth with relative ease.

That network literally had menus of content available for viewing and purchase. It even offered “meet ups” with some of these exploited kids. Thanks to Instagram, this content is basically out in the open and can be stumbled upon and continues to be added to your feed. But it’s really even worse than that. As Not the Bee points out, “Instagram’s algorithm also curated pedophilic content and connected people with similar interests, essentially facilitating the sharing of child sexual abuse material.”

Meta’s former chief security officer, Alex Stamos, noted that the ease with which the journalists found this network should “set off alarm bells at Meta.”

Instagram — an image- and video-based platform that creates networks based on keywords or through interactions via videos — is a particularly vulnerable platform for this sort of illicit content to metastasize. However, Instagram has some intrinsic weaknesses that enable this problem to continue. One example the WSJ lists is that even when Instagram slaps a warning label on content that its algorithms have determined is child exploitative content, it still gives the option to view the content anyway.

Another problem is that Instagram is so inundated with reports of content that is against its guidelines that it is backlogged and the content is allowed to remain. Even if Instagram does get around to banning accounts for child sexual content and exploitation, it doesn’t ban the users or devices running those accounts. It’s like the Greek myth of Hercules fighting the hydra — Instagram cuts off one head (account) and three more backup accounts appear in its place.

UMass’s Brian Levine, who worked with the WSJ reporters, said, “Instagram is an on-ramp to places on the internet where there’s more explicit child sexual abuse.”

Instagram is a gateway drug to porn and these sort of crimes against children. In the current culture war dealing with the transgenderism cult and the whole LGBTQ+ movement, pedophilia is the next logical step in the slippery slope of “liberalism.” If the premise and goal of liberalism is individual autonomy and freedom to pursue sexual goals of virtually any kind, then after destroying the gender binary, next is undermining and destroying the protection of children from sexualization and exploitation. If gender doesn’t matter, why should age?

For parents, it is heartening to see that certain states have introduced bills that would prohibit children from accessing social media before the age of 13 and restrict its use without parental consent until age 18. It also is interesting that Biden Surgeon General Vivek Murthy has strongly advised parents to keep their kids off the socials. This bombshell WSJ report underlines some of the darkest aspects of social media. Even pictures of your children are now vulnerable to pedophiles to use and exploit.

Meta needs to do better and more to eradicate child exploitation and porn from its platforms. More urgently, though, our culture needs to not allow this sort of taboo to be normalized.

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