February 23, 2021
Human traffickers are now shifting their focus to a rapidly growing online-world where many users unknowingly expose themselves to criminals on a daily basis with children and teenagers most at risk.
According to the We Are Social Digital 2020 report, over 4.5 billion people use the internet while 3.8 million make use of social media platforms. Many use such platforms for entertainment and educational purposes or interaction with others, the internet may serve as a more sinister tool than what many may believe.
Stop The Traffik, a campaign aiming to end human trafficking, says that grooming is often the first phase of human trafficking that may serve as a gateway to further exploitation.
“Common patterns involve traffickers sending friend requests to huge numbers of people, in the hope that some will accept. Alongside social media, online gaming sites and dating apps are the most common places where traffickers target their victims as they involve interactions with complete strangers,” they said.
Read the full story by Keagan Le Grange on Independent Online
October 13, 2020
It was announced on Tuesday that Facebook will ban QAnon and related conspiracy theories associated with many disinformation campaigns. The company has been struggling to control the spread of misinformation ahead of the 2020 election, and QAnon presence on the platform has upended much of that work in recent months.
QAnon is a popular conspiracy theory that began in the far corners of the internet back in 2017 after the Pizzagate conspiracy theory sparked ahead of the 2016 election. The conspiracy theory, which once existed only within the fringes of society, has increasingly centered itself into mainstream politics ahead of the 2020 election. The theory suggests that Hollywood and the Democratic Party is run by a group of elite pedophiles that torture children and harvest their adrenaline to use it in a drug that extends their youth and beauty. Celebrities like Chrissy Teigen and Tom Hanks have fallen target to QAnon supporters, as well as political figures like Bill Clinton.
Facebook began cracking down on QAnon groups and related content earlier this summer, when the conspiracy theory began making its way into the mainstream by re-appropriating calls to end human trafficking on social media. On Instagram, hashtags related to human trafficking saw an uptick of QAnon related content, acting as a radicalization tool for curious activists by appealing to their moral code and gut reaction.
Memes that spread falsified statistics about human trafficking with no reference information spread like wildfire, leading millions of people to think that the problem is much worse than it might actually be. Attempts at fact checking this information are futile, especially since the nature of QAnon pushes a distrust in news media companies by alleging that they, too, are part of this cabal of pedophiles.
Facebook said on Tuesday that it would be expanding on its policies made earlier in 2020 to find and remove content associated with QAnon. “Starting today, we will remove any Facebook Pages, Groups and Instagram accounts representing QAnon, even if they contain no violent content,” said the company in a press release. “This is an update from the initial policy in August that removed Pages, Groups and Instagram accounts associated with QAnon when they discussed potential violence while imposing a series of restrictions to limit the reach of other Pages, Groups and Instagram accounts associated with the movement,” the press release went on to say.
To read the full story by Julia Sachs on Grit Daily: Click Here