CHILD SEXUAL EXPLOITATION
There has been an explosion of online child sexual abuse materials (CSAM) that has reached crisis proportions. In 2022 there were 31.8 million reports of CSAM containing 88 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.
Meta (formally Facebook), the world’s largest social media company, was the source for more than 27 million reports, which accounts for 85% 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 Meta’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 Meta and other companies involved with social media, data storage, 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 Meta/Facebook, Verizon and Sprint/T-Mobil, and have engaged in dialogues with Alphabet, Apple, and AT&T.
Meta/Facebook: Meta is the largest source of online child sexual abuse materials (CSAM) and its plan to deploy end-to-end encryption across its platforms will make much of this content invisible, putting children at even more risk. Our 2022 shareholder resolution at Facebook received 17.3% of the vote, which represents 57% of the non-management controlled vote. We received the support of 910 million shares worth nearly $167 billion. Our 2021 shareholder resolution at Facebook received 17.25% of the vote, which represents 56% of the non-management controlled vote. It received the support of 980 million shares worth nearly $321 billion. 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 and the UK Home Office have contacted us in appreciation of our efforts to help stop online sexual abuse.