THE public should boycott social media, in a bid to force them to do more to protect kids online, a top cop claims.
Norfolk chief constable Simon Bailey said tech companies do not care about safeguarding kids, are only acting now to save their own reputation.
He said punishments such as fines will be “little more than a drop in the ocean” to big firms and suggested a boycott is the only answer.
Mr Bailey is the National Police Chiefs’ Council lead on child protections and believes tech giants have the technology and funds to “pretty much eradicate the availability, the uploading, and the distribution of indecent imagery”.
Despite the growing problem, he said he had seen nothing so far “that has given me the confidence that companies that are creating these platforms are taking their responsibilities seriously enough”.
He said: “Ultimately I think the only thing they will genuinely respond to is when their brand is damaged. Ultimately the financial penalties for some of the giants of this world are going to be an absolute drop in the ocean.
Ultimately I think the only thing they will genuinely respond to is when their brand is damaged.
Simon Bailey, Norfolk Chief Constable
“But if the brand starts to become tainted, and consumers start to see how certain platforms are permitting abuse, are permitting the exploitation of young people, then maybe the damage to that brand will be so significant that they will feel compelled to do something in response.”
The cop warned how young men are becoming “increasingly desensitised” by porn and progressing to easily available illegal material. Society is “not far off the point where somebody will know somebody” who has viewed illegal images, he said.
The number of images on the child abuse image database has ballooned from less than 10,000 in the 1990s to 13.4 million. He called the UK response to the problem “world-beating”, in the way children are educated about exploitation.
Last month the Government opened a consultation over tough new measures to crack down on illegal content online, proposing an independent regulator and new duty of care for internet companies.
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Mr Bailey believes if effective regulation is put in place it could free up resources to begin tackling the dark web.
He added that he is concerned that the spread of 4G and 5G networks across the globe will open up numerous further opportunities for the sexual exploitation of children.
At a conference organised by StopSO, a charity that works with offenders he warned recently new plans announced by Mark Zuckerberg to increase privacy on Facebook would make life harder for child protection units.
PAEDOPHILE hunters are destroying families to gain Facebook likes, Simon Bailey claims.
The vigilantes’ actions have led to convictions but also to suicides, beatings, blackmail and the wrong people being arrested, the Norfolk chief constable said.
He added: “Family lives are being destroyed. In the name of what? Facebook likes.”
In 2017, Mr Bailey said he might work with paedophile hunters.
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