Facebook tops list of social media apps used to exploit minors in Kenya


Facebook is the most widely used medium for the sexual exploitation of minors online in Kenya. According to a report titled “Disrupting the Damage” by Interpol, the UNICEF-Innocenti Research Office and To finish Violence against children, 90 percent of online child exploitation activity in the country has been carried out on Facebook.

The report used data collected from US National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC), interviews with minors, their parents, law enforcement and legal representatives.

The report also found that the perpetrators were using WhatsApp, Instagram and YouTube for the possession, manufacture and distribution of child sexual abuse images and videos.

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Other data from NCMEC shows that globally, Facebook has reported more than 20 million more images of child sexual abuse compared to 2020. This figure is 37 times higher than that of Google, which ranks second in the report.

Incidents of online child sexual abuse also rose 6% in Kenya to 14,434, according to NCMEC CyberTipline reports. Kenya is said to be the only country directly connected to the US NCMEC reporting system through the Human Trafficking and Child Protection Unit of the Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) and the International Database on Human Trafficking and Child Protection. sexual exploitation of Interpol children.

“WhatsApp and Facebook or Facebook Messenger were the social media and instant messaging applications through which children were most often targeted. This is probably because Facebook and WhatsApp – the two most popular social media platforms in Kenya – are the places where children spend a lot of their time online, ”the report says.

Read: KFCB Partners With Google And Code IP To Protect Kids Online

The Covid-19 pandemic is said to have caused an increase in the number of cases, with people spending more time online.

“Social media has improved the sharing, production and distribution of online sexual exploitation and abuse (OCSEA). It has become much easier for predators to trick young people into sharing explicit images of themselves and falling prey to an overly sexualized culture. Mueni Mutisya, head of AHTCPU at NCEMC, told TechCrunch, adding that the authority receives about 22 Cybertip reports daily.

The report further claims that offenders prey on children by requesting sexual material online, in a phrase commonly referred to as “sending nudes”. Minors between the ages of 12 and 17 were more at risk, the offenders being people they know.

Also Read: Tech Giants Under Pressure To Ban Ads Targeting Children

Gifts and money are used to influence minors, and most of the material is shared on Facebook, Messenger, WhatsApp, and through YouTube. Instagram and TikTok were also used, but to a lesser extent. Some victims also reported that they had been threatened and blackmailed into sharing the material.

The report further indicated that Kenya was a source of commercial child pornography material, including live broadcasts of child sexual abuse.

Google search engine trends show sex offenders in Kenya are looking for material “depicting sexual activity with and between adolescents, with children and babies ”Foreign law enforcement and security agencies have flagged Kenya as a hot spot for foreign child sex offenders.

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