A number of Twitter accounts have been shut down after it was discovered that they contained disturbing images of child abuse, ITV has reported.

The National Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Children (NSPCC), a child protection charity in the UK, were first notified late Sunday and quickly let their Twitter followers know about the situation.

NSPCC tweeted.

“People have expressed concern about a twitter feed with disturbing images of children. We’ve alerted CEOP [Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre]. They are looking at it urgently,”

The NSPCC said that hacking groups claimed to have unmasked the accounts after they opened a number of accounts that were previously hidden from public view.

CEOP received around 25 to 30 reports on at least four accounts, which will be investigated in the U.S. (where Twitter is based). Twitter is then obligated by law to forward any information they find to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC), which is the U.S. equivalent of CEOP.

A CEOP spokesman explained:

“NCMEC will then forward information for investigation to law enforcement agencies in the relevant country where the user is believed to be based, or children believed to be at risk”

It is unclear whether the users who uploaded the disturbing images were located in the UK or outside the country, and the nationalities of the children involved are not yet known.

The NSPCC asked for people to be vigilant and to report activity when they become aware of it.

“To be honest, it’s not a massive surprise,” the spokesman said. “In our experience, sex offenders will use whichever mean they can to connect with each other. They are usually quite devious.”

Twitter has yet to comment on the closed accounts, but its policy explicitly states it does not tolerate child sexual exploitation.

“When we are made aware of links to images of or content promoting child sexual exploitation they will be removed from the site without further notice and reported to the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children (NCMEC); we permanently suspend accounts promoting or containing updates with links to child sexual exploitation.”

Married to the amazing Sarah and raising Jakey, Daniel, Amelia, Josh & Jonah in our blended family. Passionate for Jesus, social work & sport.

0 thoughts on “Age-ratings for the web”

  1. Any scheme that’s attempted should take account of and have researched the many existing systems from parental advising websites.
    One system is to have a ‘meta tag’ in the html code of the webpage that states it’s rating/content type(the website manager adds the meta tag, possibly after official approval). This sits alongside other meta tags that provide the viewer’s computer with information about the webpage title, description, creator, text-only version, etc..

    The trouble is that it can be unclear what rating the website is. The ratings need to be clearly defined with strict boundaries. But as you point out, some children watch certain older movies.
    The other problem is you need wide spread adoption. The internet isn’t one country and has no overriding authorities. The bigger thing is that alot of websites won’t bother to take up a system until 90% of over websites do it, catch 22.

    If you want to go down the search for bad websites and block them, this is the same concept as anti-virus. Website blocking software has been easily available since 1997, it’s nothing special.
    A side effect of this is when The Beano chat room blocked me saying I come from middleSEX. Kids will find a way to get around a block just because it’s there (and there will always be a way around). I would rather teach my kids the dangers of things you find, and watch over them when they’re really young.

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