Three sex trafficking victims have brought a lawsuit against BackPage.com. The victims claim that the website helps promote the exploitation of children. Lawyers for the victims claim that the girls were sold as prostitutes through ads on BackPage.com. BackPage says that the lawsuit is an attempt at censorship and has asked a judge to dismiss the case. The judge declined, BackPage appealed.
The Washington Supreme Court heard arguments on Tuesday, October 21, 2014. BackPage believes the case should be thrown out because the Communications Decency Act of 1996 gives it immunity from the activities of its members. The victims say they were raped multiple times when they were teenagers and that the website is partially responsible for their sex trafficking.
KiroTV.com reported, “According to court documents, when pimps forced the women to offer sex on the controversial website, Backpage never verified their ages and instructed sex traffickers not to use certain words or graphics to avoid scrutiny from the public and police.”
During the arguments, the Supreme Court Justice’s asked both sides whether BackPage was part of contributing, developing or creating content for the website. The attorney for BackPage claimed that it was clear that his client did not create or develop the ads that allegedly harmed the plaintiffs. He argues that this is an effort to chill online speech.
The Communications Decency Act of 1996 was the first attempt by the United States to regulate pornographic material on the internet. It criminalized the transmission of materials that were “obscene or indecent” to persons known to be under 18. However, many portions of CDA have been struck down for violating the right to free speech.
The BackPage lawsuit could have a major effect on sex trafficking. The ruling in the case could also have a huge impact on free speech in the online world.
If you suspect child sex trafficking, it should be reported to the CyberTipline of the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.
A popular digital trend in the online world is the development of subtweeting. It is fast becoming a trend among teens and tweens. Subtweeting may sound like an innocent new trend in social media or a new fad that kids are just trying on for size. In reality, subtweeting is the newest form of cyberbullying to hit the digital world.
Subtweeting according to the Urban Dictionary means “indirectly tweeting about someone without mentioning their name. Even though their name is not mentioned, it is clear who the person tweeting is referring to.” The trend allows users to talk negatively or gossip about a person without taking responsibility for their words.
A better explanation of subtweeting can be found in an article by Kate Knibbs at Digital Trends. She writes, “But not all Twitter users want to engage in tweet-to-tweet combat with their enemies. Some prefer to call their nemeses out behind their back –which is kind of hard to do considering your tweets are usually public and your rivals may or may not follow you. And there’s a term for this underhanded insult-slinging: It’s call subtweeting.”
Subtweeting is a passive-aggressive way to cyberbully without having to be held accountable. It is more common among high school students and young Twitter users; teens and tweens. The trend has been around since 2012 and is an original modification to the Twitter culture. Its popularity has moved into other social media outlets including Facebook and Instagram. On Facebook, people use the hashtag #subtweet to make an insult about another user without mentioning the user’s name.
Parents of teens and tweens need to be aware that subtweeting is a hurtful practice that can cause ripples of negative behavior. Monitoring the social media posts that your children make can help you take notice of whether your teen or tween is engaged in subtweeting. Teens and tweens often take to social media to vent their frustrations, it is important for parents to teach them that online communication isn’t the best option when the real issues they are having with someone can be addressed in real life through the non-digital mode of communication –talking.
The survey highlighted some important findings. Private lives are not so private. Teens often seek social networks considered to be the “no parent zone.” Cyberbullying is still prevalent on the world wide web and teens are often the victim. Cyberbullying conflicts are also carried into offline altercations.
I recently had the chance to talk to the experts at ZoneAlarm about Facebook’s latest privacy changes – where teens can publicly share their photos and updates as well as be found by the general public. What does this mean for a teen’s online security? What are some concerns parents should have or be made aware of? It’s no secret that from cyberbullies to online stalkers and predators, teens face an increasing range of online threats. What can parents do to help their teens protect themselves online? Their experts offered up this infographic as well as some helpful statistics and tips for keeping our kids safe.
Did you know that?
23 percent say they have been victims of cyberbullying.
62 percent of teenagers have witnessed taunting and other cruel behavior online.
Control who sees timeline posts. Under privacy settings, you can select: “Who can see my posts?” Then, by changing it from “Public” to “Friends” or “Close Friends”, all future posts that your teen creates will just be seen by the audience that she specifies. She can also change the “Limit who sees old posts” setting from “Public” to “Friends of Friends” or “Friends.”
Instagram is one of the hottest social media apps on the market and they are growing quickly. In the past year alone they have doubled their subscription base and that does not appear to be slowing down. Because the app is used primarily on phones and tablets, it has been particularly popular with the younger crowd for sharing pictures with friends. The problem with Instagram is that it is not meant for kids younger than 13 per their terms of service. Despite this, kids sign up all the time with little to stand in their way. Here are five good reasons why you might want to stop your kid from using Instagram at such a young age:
Instagram is public
Like any other social media site, anyone can see your kid’s pictures if they don’t set the account to private. If the kid posts a picture at the park with friends and the account is set to public, anyone can know where your kid is, what they look like and who they are with. The danger is obvious.
Aspiring models and actors may get more than they bargained for if they respond to a Fake Modeling Agency “ad” on Facebook. Law enforcement officials in the United Kingdom report that fake modeling agencies have been trolling the popular social networking site attempting to get pictures of minors in their underwear. These agencies claim the photos are necessary to determine if they could be a model. These fake agencies are very convincing, even going so far as to set up websites and use company logos, sometimes even falsely assuming the identity of legitimate modeling agencies, making their solicitation even more believable.
Law enforcement official in the UK warn:
“Do not be fooled by these emails, a reputable modelling agency would never approach you in this way. Do not post pictures online of yourself posing in your underwear and if you are under 18 these photographs may be indecent under UK law.
You have no control when posting photos on the internet where they may end up and they could appear on the internet forever. If you do find yourself in a situation of this nature online you can use the CEOP Report Abuse Button which is now available as an app on Facebook or contact police.” (Detective Sergeant Ed Jones, from Leicestershire Constabulary’s/UK Press)
The UK’s Child Exploitation and Online Protection Center recommends that children’s Facebook page privacy settings should be set to private, or friends only. I would add that parents should regularly and unexpectedly check their child’s friends pages for those people who are really not so friendly.
Facebook is working with the police and a spokesperson states “The safety of the people who use Facebook is our top priority. Unfortunately there will always be malicious people who try to fool people, both online and offline. Just as you should check if someone ‘scouting’ you in a shopping centre really is a legitimate model agent you should also use the same caution on Facebook.
“We encourage people using Facebook to think carefully before they add a new friend and check that the person is who they claim to be and not to add or accept friend requests from people they don’t know. It’s against Facebook’s rules to use a fake name or operate under a false identity. We provide our users with the tools to report anyone they think is doing this via report links on every page of our site and we strongly recommend their use.”