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    Social media Transparency reports: Child Sexual Abuse still a concern

    Child sexual content remains a concern for social media platforms as the number of user complaints in March exceeds that of February’s figures. Social media platforms like Meta (Facebook and Instagram) and WhatsApp reported 44 Grievance Appellate Committee (GAC) orders were issued in the month, but it is still unclear what these orders seek to address.

    While looking at the monthly transparency reports, MediaNama also looked at YouTube’s removal actions last year in light of the recent bout of channel blocking faced by India’s independent journalists on YouTube.

    Highlights of March’s transparency reports

    These are the following trends of user grievances between March 1 and March 31 after looking at transparency reports from Meta, WhatsApp, Google and Twitter (February 26 to March 25):

    Twitter reports sharp increase in child sexual content: Twitter received 183 child sexual exploitation complaints and took action against 103 URLs. Facebook reported 72.8 thousand pieces of content related to child nudity and physical abuse and 527 thousand pieces related to child sexual exploitation. Instagram reported 223.6 thousand incidents of child nudity and physical abuse and 163.2 thousand incidents of child sexual exploitation.

    Google reports the highest number of user grievances: Google reported 23,170 complaints with 20,833 copyright grievances. Facebook and Instagram received 15,226 reports and 12,084 reports respectively. Twitter reported 5,158 complaints in March, much lesser than the 14,421 complaints reported in February. The highest number of complaints were regarding ban evasions.

    India government issued 44 GAC orders: Meta received 39 Grievance Appellate Committee (GAC) orders in March. WhatsApp received 5 GAC orders. There is no information as to what these orders pertained to.

    Meta again fails to lower the number of self-harm complaints: Meta once again reported 3.3 million incidents of suicide and self-injury. Facebook reported 1.7 million such cases, while Instagram reported 1.6 million cases. Twitter’s report regarding the promotion of suicide and self-harm fell from 3,785 grievances in February to only 8 complaints in March. The platform took action against 1 URL in this regard.

    For those seeking help in troubled times, NGOs like AASRA offer a 24×7 helpline number, 91-9820466726, available in both English and Hindi. Another helpline available is 915298782.

    Platform actions against reports: WhatsApp banned 7.954 million accounts and received 6,661 appeals for ban. Twitter took action against 3,755 URLs and processed 79 appeals for accounts suspensions. Facebook provided tools to user to resolve issues in 8,720 cases and took action against 2,207 special reports. Similarly, Instagram provided tools for 5,776 cases and took action against 1,817 special cases. Google took 57,236 removal actions.

    2.25 million YouTube videos removed in India

    In its latest community guidelines enforcement report, YouTube stated that out of 9.01 million videos removed between October 2023 and December 2023, as many as 2,254,902 videos were removed from India. In fact, India ranked the highest in terms of video removals, followed by Singapore that reported around half the number reported in India (1,243,871 videos). Further, it reported 20,592,341 YouTube channels were removed during the same time period although it did not have a country-wise break-up of the figure.

    The data is worth noting since in recent times blocking/removal of videos/ channels by independent journalists has become common in India. Recently, Indian YouTube news channels like Bolta Hindustan and National Dastak received an email from YouTube stating that their channels have been blocked under the directions from the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting (MIB). More channels like Lokhit India and Indus News TV also received demonetisation notices from YouTube. In 2023, journalists like Abhisar Sharma received copyright claims from Prasar Bharati for using video clips from parliament proceedings, which had led to the videos being demonetised. Experts have said that based on the Shreya Singhal judgement, it is unconstitutional to ban a Youtube channel in India without reason or making the reasons public. Yet, based on the above data, it seems unlikely that the trend will end any time soon.

    Also Read:

    The post Social media Transparency reports: Child Sexual Abuse still a concern appeared first on MEDIANAMA.

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