Report: 90% of Online Child Abuse Content 'Self-Generated' Through Extortion

    Report: 90% of Online Child Abuse Content 'Self-Generated' Through Extortion
    Photo: Matt Cardy/Getty Images News via Getty Images

    The Facts

    • Over 90% of over 275K websites found to contain child sexual abuse content in 2023 included "self-generated" images reportedly involving children as young as three. The images are reportedly obtained through the extortion and coercion of minors.

    • According to data released by the Internet Watch Foundation, self-generated sexual abuse material featuring children under 10 had been discovered on more than 100K webpages, marking a 66% rise from 2022.

    The Spin

    Narrative A

    Most often, criminals are one step ahead of law enforcement authorities. A tool like encryption hands a potential virtual weapon to bad actors. It's vital to balance the need for unfettered privacy with regulating technology that has a strong downside. An open society with private discussions does not also have to include tech that can harm children.

    Narrative B

    Contrary to the erroneous assumption that encryption enables child sex abuse online, encryption technology overall protects children by limiting their exposure to such content, alongside threats and blackmail. The tool could also prevent criminals from accessing children's pictures or locations online. Not using encryption leaves everyone, including children, vulnerable.

    Nerd narrative

    There's a 2% chance that Meta Platforms will sell Instagram or WhatsApp before 2025, according to the Metaculus prediction community.

    Articles on this story

    Sign up to our daily newsletter