I had every intention to write about something different today, but after a few of my friends wrote about this topic, I knew I needed to jump on board and do what I could to raise awareness. See, Facebook is doing it wrong. Again.
Not too long ago–as in, only last week–Facebook has finally responded to multiple complaints that they do very little to monitor the content that pages host that violates Facebook’s terms of service (TOS). Pages that promote hate speech, violence against women, and sometimes pornographic imagery are left untouched while images of women breastfeeding or showing mastectomy scars are flagged as “inappropriate.”
So when I found out that there is a “fan page” of a famous red-light district in Kolkata (Calcutta), India, I was…enraged is not strong enough a word for what I felt. See, the vast majority of those who work in that district are not there of their own volition. Many prostitutes have been trafficked and are held against their will, and many (if not most) of these are underage minors. (The average age a girl is trafficked is ~12, but many are younger.)
This “fan page” is full of explicit images of these young girls, and many of them are pornographic in nature–clearly, this violates Facebook’s TOS. And yet, when my friends reported the page, they received the exact same message:
Again, enraged is not strong enough a word. I also reported the page, but have yet to hear anything back. (Perhaps this is a good sign that Facebook is looking further into the matter?) I hope–so much–that Facebook responds quickly to what I can only assume will be a flood of protests following the abovementioned posts and that this fan page will be gone shortly–never to return.
I mentioned previously that human trafficking is something that I feel very strongly about, so I am asking you to do something about it as well. I will post the link to the page below so that you may also report it. But please, PLEASE do not click through to the page unless you fully intend to report the content. If you click through and do nothing, then your apathy makes you complicit in trafficking and the prostitution–that is, rape–of underage girls. Link is upsetting and NSFW: Sonagachi.
EDIT: In light of Sarah Bessey’s tweet re: this post, I expect there will be new visitors here. For a more detailed explanation, please go to Liz Boltz Ranfeld’s blog post which initially brought my attention to the matter.
UPDATE: Per a facebook tip, the link to Sonagachi’s page no longer appears valid. I am hopeful that means the page has actually been pulled down.
UPDATE 2: There is already a new page for Sonagachi up on facebook here. Please report again! Again, please only click the link if you intend to report the page. Otherwise, you are complicit in this crime.
UPDATE 3: Today’s reflections.
Thanks for writing about this. Liz is a friend and I was one of the people she initially asked to report the page. A few other friends have done more digging into the page — something I do not recommend if you can’t stomach seeing truly vile imagery — and found photos of children performing sex acts, as well as a whole photo set dedicated to recording a girl losing her virginity. This is now beyond sexually explicit content — it is child porn, and that is against federal law. We have now upped our game to reporting Facebook to the FBI for hosting the content.
I had noticed in the comments on Liz’s post that someone had found an image of children engaged in sex acts, but that really does up the ante. How does one report to the FBI?
Electronic Service Providers are required by law to report apparent child pornography to law enforcement via the CyberTipline (18 U.S.C. § 2258A). Facebook is an ESP from what I can tell by the definition.
I have already reported FB to the FBI for hosting (and refusing to take down) child pornography. I’ll go ahead and report at that link as well.
REported it, got the same message, and in my “feedback request” I described what is in the images, and then said that whoever is viewing these reports and doing nothing about them is probably getting off on the content.
I really hope that isn’t the case and that it is just an automatic response. Thank you for reporting!
I asked this on Liz’s blog, but just in case of a signal boost, someone should also consider forwarding the page to law enforcement in India or international anti-trafficking organizations, especially ones who could possibly ID and rescue any of these kids. I don’t have any connections myself, but if anyone has an idea of the right people to contact, let us know.
Good thinking! I tweeted IJM (International Justice Mission) because they work to raid brothels and liberate those held prisoner. I will have to look into local authority there and see if there is anything that can be done at that level.
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