CHILD SEXUAL EXPLOITATION
There has been an explosion of online child sexual abuse materials (CSAM) that has reached crisis proportions. In 2020 there were 21.4 million reports of CSAM containing 65.4 million images and videos. Many of these involve children 10 years old or younger. Many more incidents go unreported. 75% of children trafficked or sold for sex are advertised online.
Improvements in technology, the growing use of mobile devices by kids, and an increase of online usage during the COVID pandemic have exponentially increased the risk to children from sexual predators.
Facebook, the world’s largest social media company, was the source for more than 20.3 million reports, which accounts for 94% of cases reported in the U.S. The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC), the national clearinghouse for CSAM materials in the U.S., estimated that Facebook’s plan to apply end-to-end encryption to its platforms could effectively make invisible 70% of CSAM cases that are currently being detected and reported.
The Women’s Inclusion Project, along with faith-based investors, is engaging Facebook and other companies involved with data storage, social media, telecommunications, and device producers.
We are asking companies to:
Block, remove, and report online child sexual abuse and exploitation materials and cooperate with legal authorities to stop child predators and online child sexual abuse and exploitation.
Report on the potential sexual exploitation of children through their products and services, as well as the company’s oversight, policies and practices regarding this issue.
Delay plans to apply end-to-end encryption (which will effectively hide content and protect sexual predators and prevent law enforcement action) until the company can stop child sexual exploitation on its products.
WIP members have filed shareholder resolutions at Facebook, Verizon and Sprint/T-Mobil, and have engaged in dialogues with Alphabet, Apple, and AT&T.
Facebook: Our 2021shareholder resolution at Facebook received 17.25% of the vote, which represents 56% of the non-management controlled vote. We received the support of 980 million shares worth nearly $321 billion. Facebook is the largest source of online child sexual abuse materials (CSAM), accounting for nearly 21 million of the 23 million U.S. reports of CSAM in 2020. Facebook’s plan to deploy end-to-end encryption across its platforms will make this content invisible, putting children at even more risk. Our 2020 resolution at Facebook received a 12.6% vote—which was about 43% of the non-management controlled stock—with 712 million shares worth over $163 billion.
In June 2020, Facebook, Alphabet, Microsoft and 15 other companies launched Project Protect, a new initiative of the Technology Coalition to help combat online child sexual abuse.
Verizon: We withdrew our 2020 resolution after Verizon became one of the first companies to agree to conduct a child risk assessment across all its business operations. Our 2019 resolution received 34% support representing over 940 million shares worth over $53 billion.
The offices of the U.S. Attorney General, a U.S. Senator, and the UK Home Office have contacted us in appreciation of our efforts to stop online sexual abuse.