Recently, a Facebook user came across a public Pakistan-based group with 43,000 members sharing child pornography. Members were placing requests for the kind of material they wanted, and their requests were being immediately fulfilled. Appalled, the Facebook user says she did not waste any time reporting the group. She then shared it in multiple forums so others could also report it.
To her surprise, however, she soon received a message from Facebook saying her account had been disabled – supposedly because her account was generating “spam”. Surely, Facebook can do better than blocking a conscientious user attempting to expose harmful and illegal acts while allowing perpetrators to run amok.
Facebook’s policies on sharing and disseminating illicit material tend to be ambiguous. Although it officially lists sharing nudity and pornography – especially involving minors – as serious offences, it is common for complaints against graphic content to be dismissed. Often, as in the above case, users are told the content is not violating Facebook rules and regulations. In fact, the Facebook Help Community page is rife with questions and concerns being posed to Facebook admins by those who have run into this roadblock many a time.
So far, Pakistan itself has not managed to crack down on the various pornography rings operating throughout the country. Today we face a disturbing reality: that of powerful crime organizations disseminating illicit and harmful material being allowed to function openly. Human Rights Minister Shireen Mazari attempted to make some inroads into the matter in 2019. However, two months ago, Lahore High Court actually ended up releasing on bail a criminal convicted of distributing child pornography as part of an international crime ring.
While those in charge remain steeped in negligence, criminals expand their networks and amass an unbelievable – and dangerous – amount of power.
Feature image source: The Verge