Facebook-owned social network Instagram is reportedly the most popular platform for child grooming in the U.K.
According to the BBC, the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (NSPCC) discovered that pedophiles “are grooming children on Instagram more than on any other online platform.”
The charity revealed that Instagram has even surpassed parent platform Facebook, and Snapchat as the number one place for pedophiles to prey on children.
“Police in England and Wales recorded 1,944 incidents of sexual communication with children in the six months to September 2018,” the BBC reported, adding that “Instagram was used in 32% of the 1,317 cases where a method was recorded, Facebook in 23% and Snapchat in 14%.”
The BBC further reported that “seven out of 10 victims were girls aged 12 to 15,” “One in five was aged 11 or under,” and “The youngest victim was five years old.”
In a statement, Facebook declared, “We use advanced technology and work closely with the police and CEOP [Child Exploitation and Online Protection] to aggressively fight this type of content and protect young people.”
However, Peter Wanless, CEO of the NSPCC, claimed safeguarding children can no longer be left in the hands of Big Tech companies.
“These figures are overwhelming evidence that keeping children safe cannot be left to social networks,” Wanless proclaimed. “We cannot wait for the next tragedy before tech companies are made to act. It is hugely concerning to see the sharp spike in grooming offences on Instagram, and it is vital that the platform designs basic protection more carefully into the service it offers young people.”
“After 10 years of failed self-regulation by social networks, it is crucial that the Government’s imminent Online Harms White Paper includes new laws that tackle online grooming once and for all,” he continued.
Google’s YouTube has also had problems combating child sexual predators on the platform.
After major advertisers, including McDonald’s, Nestlé, and Epic Games pulled advertisements from YouTube in response to the platform’s problem with pedophiles making sexual comments on videos featuring children, YouTube announced it had disabled the comments section on “tens of millions of videos” that had children in.