WhatsApp Once Again is Providing a Platform to Spread Child Abusive Content

A Delhi-based cybersecurity firm, Cyber Peace Foundation (CPF) known for fighting online crimes have found how WhatsApp is being used actively for sharing sexual abuse videos specifically in India.

Facebook has already been working on the removal of inappropriate content from the platform and new findings have shown how several WhatsApp groups, consisting of hundreds of members are used to spread sexual child abuse related material.

A third-party app, which was recently banned from the Google Play Store, was used to identify these WhatsApp public group discovery. Nitish Chandan, project manager, and cybersecurity specialist at CPF discovered that people are pleaded to join these groups through invite links and then, using virtual numbers to avoid getting caught, are added to more private groups.

WhatsApp has already been under fire when last December an investigation found that a third-party app which is used for finding WhatsApp groups have allotted a special section as “Adult” provide links of group where child exploitation stuff is provided to members.

At the beginning of this year, CPF’s initial investigation also found that at least 50 groups with hundreds of members in each are dedicated to sharing child abuse material. Time and again WhatsApp have tried to enforce its users’ safety measures and eliminate such heinous acts on the app, still, it is being constantly used for abusive content, hate speech and other forms of explicit content. The detection of such groups is made further difficult for law enforcement agencies with the introduction of end-to-end encryption.

Though some exceptions are there like Microsoft’s PhotoDNA technology is allowed by WhatsApp to profile pictures of users for matches and then ban uploader as well as the other group members. Also, according to a report published by Himanshu Gupta and Harch Taneja, a metadata-based approach can be used to locate the accounts that have been spreading fake news on the site. Through this, there would be no need to giving law enforcement agencies access to the conversations of the members.

It has been suggested that the fake news on WhatsApp can be tracked without reading the chats by using the metadata information, a cryptographic hash of multimedia content and the phones numbers given on Facebook.

Around 1.5 billion people use WhatsApp and thus it should be the priority for the chat app company to address such problems seriously.

WhatsApp Once Again is Providing a Platform to Spread Child Abusive Content
Photo: Reuters/Thomas White
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