Child porn moves from dark web to social media


PETALING JAYA: As child sex abuse content proliferates on the Internet, it’s moving from the confines of the dark web to mainstream platforms.

A Unicef report in 2022 concluded that children mainly experienced online child sexual exploitation and abuse on major social media platforms, with the most common being WhatsApp, Facebook and Facebook Messenger, WeChat and Telegram.

The Disrupting Harm in Malaysia report found that 4% of Malaysian children between the ages of 12 and 17 who use the Internet said they had been sexually exploited or abused online.

This included being blackmailed into engaging in sexual activities, having their images shared without consent or being coerced to engage in sexual activities through promises of money or gifts.

It had surveyed 517 (52%) boys and 478 (48%) girls who had used the Internet in the three months prior to the interview.

Scaled to the population, the report said that this represents an estimated 100,000 children who may have been subjected to any of these harms in a single year.

Unicef said that while a range of initiatives driven by the government, civil society and industry were underway in Malaysia, “weak inter-agency coordination and cooperation and limitations related to budgetary resources still exist”.

A number of offenders have been caught with child pornography on their devices recently.

In December last year, a man was arrested at his home in Klang for allegedly possessing child pornography on his computer.

The suspect is believed to have been in contact with several children and downloaded child pornography from social media.

The police cooperated with the FBI on the arrest.

In January, online reports surfaced of a man in Singapore being sentenced to six weeks in prison for possessing child pornography, which included two still images and six videos. The man had downloaded the material from a group on Telegram.

In September 2020, All Women’s Action Society (Awam) issued a statement urging the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) and Royal Malaysia Police (PDRM) to take action against groups on Telegram and other platforms, claiming that it found that they were being used as “a transaction hub for paid nudes, child pornography, hidden camera footage (CCTV) and even lifetime subscriptions to pornographic material”.

It highlighted that members of the V2K group were exchanging photos and personal information to gain access to other items, including paid nudes, child pornography and hidden camera footage.

The statement said that the V2K group in Malaysia had close to 40,000 group members.

Awam also said that since the issue came to light, more than 20 women have told them that their photos were being circulated around the group.

At the time, MCMC issued a statement saying it had notified Telegram of local groups spreading women’s photos and child porn.

It said that it was working with PDRM on the matter and had escalated the issue to Interpol.

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