London: Facebook is reportedly offering middle-aged men as ‘friend suggestions’ to teenage girls, reported The Telegraph on Saturday. Middle-aged men, some even with topless photos as their Facebook profile picture, are offered as suggestions that can be added as friends to young teenage girls who join the social media.
According to the report, over 300 suggestions are being offered on Facebook accounts of girls as young as 13 years old.
However, Facebook denied the allegations and claimed that safeguard measures are available for teenagers using their platform. UK-based, the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (NSPCC), has demanded the suspension of such friend recommendations to children using the social media platform.
Andy Burrows, NSPCC Associate Head of Child Safety Online, reportedly said, “Groomers are seeking to infiltrate children’s friendship groups on social networks, often with the intention to move children to live streaming or encrypted sites where it is easier for them to commit sexual abuse.”
Campaigners, however, allege that Facebook has not taken sufficient steps to prevent groomers from becoming friendly with children.
“For too long social networks have failed to make their platforms safe for children, and that is why the Home Secretary must commit to strong and effective regulation to finally ensure that children’s safety is non-negotiable,” added Andy Burrows. In the month of October, Facebook had allegedly flagged child nudity photos from 8.7 million users through machine learning software.
A report by the Daily Mail quoted a Facebook spokesperson as saying, “Grooming is incredibly serious, and we have teams specifically focused on keeping children safe, informed by extensive research and outside experts.” The networking giant is considering to spot and prevent child nudity and grooming to Instagram.
(With IANS inputs)