Report: Paedophiles on Twitter and Instagram Using Cheese and Pizza Emojis to Share Images

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A London-based group of over 100 parents have begun campaigning to have social media sites like Instagram and Twitter remove the accounts of paedophiles who are reportedly using cheese and pizza emojis as code to share images.

The group — operating under the moniker PDProtect — warned that paedophiles are taking and sharing seemingly innocent pictures of children uploaded by parents in order to pass them around to predators on social media.

A 27-year-old mother from London who founded the project, referred to only as India, told The Telegraph: “I couldn’t just scroll past it as at the end of the day these are people’s children.

“There are pictures of little boys aged five or six on the beach in their swimming trunks and chances are that picture was taken by their parents on their holiday. Somehow that picture has gotten into their hands,” she explained.

India said that she has been in talks with Instagram over the issue, noting that many of the accounts her team flagged were using cheese and pizza emojis together as code for ‘CP’ — child pornography.

An online child protection expert and former member of the British government’s Council for Internet Safety, John Carr OBE, said that the “horrifying” practise needs to be stamped out by tech companies.

“It is understandable that parents want to share pictures of their children with friends and relatives, but if their social media accounts are not private these photos can be seen — and taken — by anyone,” Carr warned.

“This is about parents not thinking because they are not aware that these bad guys are out there doing this,” he added.

In response to the revelations, the Head of Safety at Instagram told The Telegraph: “Any content that endangers children is abhorrent and we’re committed to doing everything we can to keep it off our apps.”

“We remove accounts that share or solicit this type of content and report them to the police. We also use technology that’s constantly improving to find and remove known child exploitation imagery,” she claimed.

“We’ve been working with India to investigate and remove the accounts she’s identified and we’re grateful for her help,” she went on to say.

A spokesman for Twitter added: “Twitter has a zero-tolerance policy for child sexual exploitation content. We aggressively fight online child sexual abuse and have heavily invested in technology and tools to enforce our policy.

“Our dedicated teams work to stay ahead of bad-faith actors and to ensure we’re doing everything we can to remove content, facilitate investigations, and protect minors from harm — both on and offline,” Twitter said.

Follow Kurt on Twitter at @KurtZindulka

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