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Editor’s Note: This is an email from a Facebook spokesman answering an inquiry about the company’s response to instances of child porn:

“Nothing is more important to Facebook than the safety of the people that use our site and this material has absolutely no place on Facebook. We have zero tolerance for child pornography being uploaded onto Facebook and are extremely aggressive in preventing and removing child exploitive content. We scan every photo that is uploaded to the site using PhotoDNA to ensure that this illicit material can’t be distributed and we report all instances of exploitative content to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. We’ve built complex technical systems that either block the creation of this content, including in private groups, or flag it for quick review by our team of investigations professionals.

“We’ve worked with the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children and the New York State Attorney General’s Office in the U.S., as well as the Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre in the U.K., to use known databases of child exploitive material to improve our detection and bring those responsible to justice.

“We feel we’ve created a much safer environment on Facebook than exists off-line, where people can share this disgusting material in the privacy of their own homes without anyone watching. However, we’re constantly refining and improving our systems and processes and building upon our relationships with NCMEC and law enforcement agencies specializing in child protection to create an even safer space.”

The company provided a list of its “Current Protections”:

“PhotoDNA: PhotoDNA scans every single one of the millions of images that are uploaded to our site daily, checking the unique signature that calculates the essential characteristics of each image, which is known as a ‘hash.’ These images are compared against our own internal hash list as well as NCMEC’s hash list to ensure no known child exploitative images are uploaded to the site. Once an image is verified as exploitative we will not only immediately escalate the account to the appropriate law enforcement personnel and NCEMEC, but also investigate the account for evidence of further wrongdoing. We have worked with state, local, and federal law enforcement to proactively pursue cases against bad actors who attempt to use our site for these detestable ends. Attorneys General John Kroeger (Oregon), Lisa Madigan (Illinois), and Kamala Harris (California) have all spoken in support of Facebook’s use of PhotoDNA.

“Reporting: Our more than 900 million users help monitor for and report abusive behavior and objects. We leverage this system to prioritize all reports relating to harassment or exploitative content, especially when pertaining to minors, and investigate all associated accounts as appropriate.

“Law Enforcement Relationships: We maintain a strong relationship with the Department of Justice, National Center for Missing Children, Interpol, the FBI, and numerous other state, local, federal and international law enforcement organizations and departments. We work with these law enforcement contacts to help proactively pursue child exploitative content cases and help us investigate malfeasance. We work closely with NCMEC, Interpol and other international law enforcement agencies to maintain an up-to-date list of keywords and terms commonly used by bad actors involved in these crimes to help us better surface and disrupt the spread of exploitative material.

“Industry & Non-Profit Efforts: We have worked with others in the industry – notably Google and Microsoft – to improve our technologies and share best practices to help us investigate and surface exploitative content. We have participated extensively in several industry wide groups including the DNA Foundation and the Technology Coalition under the guidance of NCMEC. Additionally, we have worked with other non-profits in this space including Stop Child Trafficking Now and the Polaris Project to supplement our efforts and cast an even wider net for our safety efforts.

“What Happens When CP is Reported? All accounts that have been disabled, removed from the site, or detected as being involved in CP activity are preserved to the fullest possible extent to aid in any subsequent law enforcement investigation. Furthermore, Facebook will often proactively surface these cases with domestic and international law enforcement to help aid in the arrest, apprehension and conviction of these perpetrators. As mentioned previously, once an account is suspected of being involved in illicit activity we will investigate associated objects (groups, Pages, and images etc.) and associates. ”

The company also listed the following links for “More information”:

Facebook Security Page: How Facebook Uses PhotoDNA

More information about PhotoDNA

Press Release: AMBER Alert Program Expands to Facebook

Press Release: New York AG, Facebook Announces First of Its Kind Effort to Stop

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