Cheese Pizza? Meta’s Instagram Facilitated Massive Pedophile Network
A comprehensive investigation by the Wall Street Journal and the Stanford Internet Observatory reveals that Meta-owned Instagram has been home to an organized and massive network of pedophiles.
But what separates this case from most is that Instagram’s own algorithms were promoting pedophile content to other pedophiles, while the pedos themselves used coded emojis, such as a picture of a map, or a slice of cheese pizza.
Instagram connects pedophiles and guides them to content sellers via recommendation systems that excel at linking those who share niche interests, the Journal and the academic researchers found.
The pedophilic accounts on Instagram mix brazenness with superficial efforts to veil their activity, researchers found. Certain emojis function as a kind of code, such as an image of a map—shorthand for “minor-attracted person”—or one of “cheese pizza,” which shares its initials with “child pornography,” according to Levine of UMass. Many declare themselves “lovers of the little things in life.” -WSJ
According to the researchers, Instagram allowed pedophiles to search for content with explicit hashtags such as #pedowhore and #preteensex, which were then used to connect them to accounts that advertise child-sex material for sale from users going under names such as “little slut for you.”
Sellers of child porn often convey the child’s purported age, saying they are “on chapter 14,” or “age 31,” with an emoji of a reverse arrow.
BREAKING: Instagram algorithm exposed promoting pedophile networks in massive investigation, video sales, ‘preteensex’ menus, in-person meetups with underage boys and girls, using emojis such as a map and cheese pizza – WSJ
— Jack Poso 🇺🇸 (@JackPosobiec) June 7, 2023
Meta claims to have taken down 27 pedophile networks over the past two years, and says it plans more removals.
“That a team of three academics with limited access could find such a huge network should set off alarms at Meta,” said Alex Stamos, the head of the Stanford Internet Observatory and Meta’s chief security officer until 2018, adding that the company has far more effective tools to ‘map’ its pedophile network than outsiders do.
“I hope the company reinvests in human investigators,” he added.
Researchers investigating the network set up test accounts within the pedophile network, which were immediately inundated with “suggested for you” recommendations of child-sex content, as well as accounts linking to off-platform trading sites.
Underage-sex-content creators and buyers are just a corner of a larger ecosystem devoted to sexualized child content. Other accounts in the pedophile community on Instagram aggregate pro-pedophilia memes, or discuss their access to children. Current and former Meta employees who have worked on Instagram child-safety initiatives estimate the number of accounts that exist primarily to follow such content is in the high hundreds of thousands, if not millions. -WSJ
“Instagram is an on ramp to places on the internet where there’s more explicit child sexual abuse,” according to Brian Levine, director of the UMass Rescue Lab. Levine authored a 2022 report for the DOJ’s National Institute of Justice on child exploitation over the internet.
What’s more, Meta accounted for 85% of child pornography reports filed with the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children, according to the report. That said, “Meta has struggled with these efforts more than other platforms both because of weak enforcement and design features that promote content discovery of legal as well as illicit material, Stanford found.”
Today the WSJ and Stanford Internet Observatory released important research showing pedophiles use Instagram to share material.
We’re happy that Stanford and WSJ followed our steps in working on this critical issue. As an independent researcher with my team, we showed how…
— Andrea Stroppa 🐺 Claudius Nero’s Legion 🐺 (@andst7) June 7, 2023
“Instagram’s problem comes down to content-discovery features, the ways topics are recommended and how much the platform relies on search and links between accounts,” said David Thiel, chief technologist at the Stanford Internet Observatory. “You have to put guardrails in place for something that growth-intensive to still be nominally safe, and Instagram hasn’t.”
Sarah Adams, a Canadian mother of two, has built an Instagram audience discussing child exploitation and the dangers of oversharing on social media. Given her focus, Adams’ followers sometimes send her disturbing things they’ve encountered on the platform. In February, she said, one messaged her with an account branded with the term “incest toddlers.”
Adams said she accessed the account—a collection of pro-incest memes with more than 10,000 followers—for only the few seconds that it took to report to Instagram, then tried to forget about it. But over the course of the next few days, she began hearing from horrified parents. When they looked at Adams’ Instagram profile, she said they were being recommended “incest toddlers” as a result of Adams’ contact with the account.
A Meta spokesman said that “incest toddlers” violated its rules and that Instagram had erred on enforcement. The company said it plans to address such inappropriate recommendations as part of its newly formed child safety task force. -WSJ
Meta acknowledged to the Journal that they had received a flood of reports of child sexual exploitation and failed to act on them – blaming a software glitch that prevented a substantial portion of user reports from being processed.
And while Meta is allowing pedophiles to run rampant on its platforms, ZeroHedge is still banned.
- Governments Start Calling For Price Controls, Rationing & CBDCs Come Next September 22, 2023
- F-35 Stealth Fighter Only Mission Capable About Half The Time, Government Report Finds September 22, 2023
- Xi, Assad Launch China-Syria Strategic Partnership Based On Belt & Road Initiative September 22, 2023
- Pennsylvania Rolls Out Automatic Voter Registration September 22, 2023
- NY Man Arrested With $1.6 Million In Fentanyl Fails To Show For Court After Being Granted Non-Cash Bail September 22, 2023
- FBI Informant Created One Of Largest Nazi Groups In American History September 22, 2023
- Prosecutors: $480k Cash, Over $100k in Gold Bars Found at Menendez Home September 22, 2023
- ‘Deeply Disturbing’: New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy Urges Sen. Robert Menendez to Resign September 22, 2023
- Author Of ‘Gender Queer’ Book Found In Schools Says “I Don’t Recommend This Book For Kids” September 22, 2023
- As Shutdown Looms, Questions Mount About Exactly How Much Leverage House GOP Holds September 22, 2023
- A Turning Point In America’s Struggle Against ‘Blobbery’ Has Been Crossed September 22, 2023
- Domestic US Banks See Big Deposit Outflows Last Week But Loan Volumes Picked Up September 22, 2023
- Government Shutdown Could Push Unemployment To 4%, Triggering Recession Start Signal September 22, 2023
- Watch: Rand Paul Blasts “Corrupt” Zelensky “Begging For More Money” September 22, 2023
- Russia Confirms Ukrainian Missile Strike On Black Sea Fleet HQ, Personnel Missing September 22, 2023
- Commercials Set To Invade Amazon Prime Video Unless You Pay New ‘Ad Free’ Fee September 22, 2023
- Chevron LNG Workers End Strike In Australia September 22, 2023
- Futures Rebound After Three Day Rout As Rates Ease From 2007 High September 22, 2023
- Mapping The Migration Of The World’s Millionaires In 2023 September 22, 2023
- Swiss Parliament Approves Burqa Ban, Imposes Steep Fine September 22, 2023
- ApexSMS - 23,246,481 breached accounts September 21, 2023In May 2019, news broke of a massive SMS spam operation known as "ApexSMS" which was discovered after a MongoDB instance of the same name was found exposed without a password. The incident leaked over 80M records with 23M unique email addresses alongside names, phone numbers and carriers, geographic locations (state and country), genders and […]
- dBforums - 363,468 breached accounts September 20, 2023In July 2016, a data breach of the now defunct database forum "dBforums" appeared for sale alongside several others hacked from the parent company, Penton. The breach of the vBulletin based forum contained 363k unique email addresses alongside usernames, IP addresses, dates of birth and salted MD5 password hashes.
- MalindoAir - 4,328,232 breached accounts September 14, 2023In early 2019, the Malaysian airline Malindo Air suffered a data breach that exposed tens of millions of customer records. Containing 4.3M unique email addresses, the breach also exposed extensive personal information including names, dates of birth, genders, physical addresses, phone numbers and passport details. The data was later extensively shared on popular hacking forums.
- Viva Air - 932,232 breached accounts September 11, 2023In March 2022, the now defunct Columbian airline Viva Air suffered a data breach and subsequent ransomware attack. Among a trove of other ransomed data, the incident exposed a log of 2.6M transactions with 932k unique email addresses, physical and IP addresses, names, phone numbers and partial credit card data (last 4 digits).
- Dymocks - 836,120 breached accounts September 8, 2023In September 2023, the Australian book retailer Dymocks announced a data breach. The data dated back to June 2023 and contained 1.2M records with 836k unique email addresses. The breach also exposed names, dates of birth, genders, phone numbers and physical addresses.
- Phished Data via CERT Poland - 67,943 breached accounts August 31, 2023In August 2023, CERT Poland observed a phishing campaign that collected credentials from 68k victims. The campaign collected email addresses and passwords via a phishing email masquerading as a purchase order confirmation. CERT Poland identified a further 202 other phishing campaigns operating on the same C2 server, which has now been dismantled.
- Pampling - 383,468 breached accounts August 31, 2023In January 2020, the online clothing retailer Pampling suffered a data breach that exposed 383k unique customer email addresses. The data was later shared on a popular hacking forum and also included names, usernames and unsalted MD5 password hashes.
- PlayCyberGames - 3,681,753 breached accounts August 31, 2023In August 2023, PlayCyberGames which "allows users to play any games with LAN function or games using IP address" suffered a data breach which exposed 3.7M customer records. The data included email addresses, usernames and MD5 password hashes with a constant value in the "salt" field. PlayCyberGames did not respond to multiple attempts to disclose […]
- SevenRooms - 1,205,385 breached accounts August 24, 2023In December 2022, over 400GB of data belonging to restaurant customer management platform SevenRooms was posted for sale to a popular hacking forum. The data included 1.2M unique email addresses alongside names and purchases. SevenRooms advised that the breach was due to unauthorised access of "a file transfer interface of a third-party vendor".
- Duolingo - 2,676,696 breached accounts August 23, 2023In August 2023, 2.6M records of data scraped from Duolingo were broadly distributed on a popular hacking forum. Obtained by enumerating a vulnerable API, the data had earlier appeared for sale in January 2023 and contained email addresses, names, the languages being learned, XP (experience points), and other data related to learning progress on Duolingo. […]