Tell it to SunStar: Hontiveros: Be wary of new Facebook groups preying on children

·3 min read

Senator Risa Hontiveros on Tuesday, July 19, 2022 sounded the alarm over more Facebook groups that are created to prey on children.

The senator said a series of public groups on Facebook, named “Atabs” and “LF Kuya and Bunso,” post images of minors to attract predators.

Abusers also use Facebook groups to advertise that they also sell children’s photos or videos on other messaging apps, such as Telegram.

“Nakakasuklam at nakakagalit na may mga taong tahasang nang-aabuso sa ating kabataan. Gamit na rin nila ang Facebook Messenger or Telegram para mag-usap at magbenta ng libo-libong mga pictures at videos. Ang iba, gumagamit pa ng cloud storage tulad ng Mega dahil napakalaki ng volume,” Hontiveros said.

(It is so disgusting and offensive that there are people who openly abuse our youth. They also use Facebook messenger or Telegram to communicate and sell thousands of pictures and videos. Others, even use cloud storage like Mega because the volume is so large.)

“Bilang ina, mas lalo akong nangangamba sa seguridad ng ating mga anak sa internet. Kailangang maipasa na ang Anti-Online Sexual Abuse and Exploitation of Children (Osaec) Law para tunay na mapanagot ang mga salarin at pati ang mga social media platforms at internet intermediaries na hinahayaang lumaganap ang kabastusang ito,” said Hontiveros, principal author and sponsor of the law.

(As a mother, I am even more concerned about the safety of our children on the internet. The Anti-Online Sexual Abuse and Exploitation of Children (Osaec) Law must be passed to truly hold the perpetrators accountable as well as the social media platforms and internet intermediaries that allow this obscenity to spread.)

Last week, the senator also revealed the Usapang Diskarte Facebook page and YouTube channel, which teaches its subscribers how to prey on children.

After the senator’s call to her followers to report the account, both the page and the channel were taken down by Facebook and Youtube.

“Hindi sapat na natetake down lang ang mga page o channel. Kahit ma-ireport online, gagawa at gagawa lang din sila ng panibagong accounts. Maging proactive na dapat ang mga social media platforms at messaging apps sa pagsugpo ng mga gawaing nakakapahamak sa mga bata,” Hontiveros said.

(It’s not enough to just take down the pages or channels. Even if they can report online, they will and will only create new accounts. Social media platforms and messaging apps should be proactive in curbing activities that are harmful to children.)

“Parte na ng buhay ng ating kabataan ang internet. Pero hindi dapat maging parte ang karahasan at pang-aabuso sa kanila—offline man o online. Gawin na natin ang lahat para matiyak ang kaligtasan ng ating mga anak. Ipasa na ang Anti-Osaec Law,” the senator concluded.

(The internet is already part of the lives of our youth. But violence and abuse should not be part of them—whether offline or online. Let us do everything we can to ensure the safety of our children. Pass the Anti-Osaec Law.)

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