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Peter Dazeley/GettyLast year, the vast majority of online child exploitation reports were found on Facebook, according to new data from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children’s (NCMEC) CyberTipline. The study identified over 20.3 million reported incidents related to child pornography or trafficking (classified as “child sexual abuse material”) on the social media site. By contrast, Google cited 546,704 incidents, Twitter had 65,062, Snapchat reported 144,095, and TikTok found 22,692. Facebook accounted for nearly 95 percent of the 21.7 million reports across all platforms.Notably, MindGeek—the Canada-based parent company of porn websites like Pornhub, RedTube, and YouPorn—reported far fewer than Facebook: 13,229. Last year was the first year MindGeek participated in the study. Their involvement coincided with a year-long campaign called #Traffickinghub, which aimed to shut down their subsidiary, Pornhub, for its alleged role in perpetuating underage human trafficking. The campaign, which began in February of 2020, presented itself as a “a non-religious, non-partisan effort.” But it was organized by Exodus Cry, a fringe Evangelical group which The Daily Beast has covered extensively, that has spent years lobbying to abolish the entire commercial sex industry.Stop Listening to The New York Times and Start Listening to Porn StarsThe campaign was buoyed in part by an increased interest in eliminating child sex trafficking that gained momentum over the summer under the hashtag #SaveTheChildren. Born out of an independent fundraising effort for the century-old nonprofit of the same name, the movement was quickly co-opted by QAnon adherents and conspiracy theorists, boosting baseless claims about a global cabal of elite pedophiles that includes everyone from Tom Hanks to Chrissy Teigen.Despite its dearth of accurate data, #SaveTheChildren proved wildly popular—spurring summer-long protests across the country, many of them planned and promoted on Facebook. In recent years, the platform has become a hub for right-wing-oriented conspiracy groups—a trend documented by @FacebooksTop10, an automated Twitter account created by New York Times journalist Kevin Roose to track its most popular pages each day. “What sticks out, when you dig in to the data,” Roose wrote in an Aug. 2020 piece about the account, “is just how dominant the Facebook right truly is… The result is a kind of parallel media universe that left-of-center Facebook users may never encounter, but that has been stunningly effective in shaping its own version of reality.”The spike in concern comes across in NCMEC’s data: between 2019 and 2020, child exploitation reports to the CyberTipline increased by 28 percent. While companies still made up the majority of respondents, reports from the public “more than doubled.”Statistics on child exploitation can be deeply misleading. Most notoriously, the commonly-cited data point that “over 100,000 children in the United States are commercially exploited each year,” which was mentioned in a 2010 congressional testimony by the then-president of NCMEC, is based on decades-old data. It relied on two studies, both collected during the 1990s, which included runaways, abandoned kids, and unhoused children. One of the studies, a Washington Post fact-check found, was compiled in a way that allowed some incidents to be counted two or three times. When challenged, the former NCMEC president Ernie Allen pointed to a third report which estimated an average of 1.7 million missing children reported each year. But his findings neglected that 99.8 percent of those kids were later recovered.The CyberTipline operates somewhat differently: the centralized system collects reports from the public and “electronic service providers”—a category which includes social media platforms, but also companies like eBay, Dropbox, and Microsoft—each year. The latter group makes up the bulk of their data. Of more than 21.7 million reports reviewed by the CyberTipline in 2020, 21.4 million of them came from electronic service providers.But there are still points of confusion in the data. Both Pornhub and Facebook allege the data may also include duplicates. On their website, Pornhub claims the 13,229 statistic “includes several thousand duplicates, with most reports submitted multiple times in an abundance of caution.” The number of unique incidents, they allege, is 4,171. Facebook, likewise, released a statement claiming that 90 percent of the flagged incidents were “the same as or visually similar to previously reported content.” If accurate, that would bring their total to about 2,030,722—still by far the largest number in the data pool. Dan Kitwood/Getty High report numbers, the study notes, can be “indicative of a variety of things” including “how robust an ESP’s efforts are to identify and remove abusive content”—but also “larger numbers of users on a platform.” Facebook has many times more users than MindGeek. Data from Oct. 2020, shows that the former has 1.79 billion daily active users, while the latter cites just 115 million.“Eliminating illegal content and ridding the internet of child sexual abuse material is one of the most crucial issues facing online platforms today, and it requires the unwavering commitment and collective action of all parties,” a MindGeek spokesperson wrote in a statement to The Daily Beast. “MindGeek voluntarily registered with NCMEC to automatically report every instance of CSAM we are aware of so that this information can be disseminated to and investigated by authorities across the globe.”The day before the study came out, Facebook put out a press release titled “Preventing Child Exploitation on Our Apps,” announcing new measures to monitor child exploitation. The tools included informational pop-ups for related search terms, a policy for removing profiles associated with child-related flagged content, and an “involves a child” option for reporting “Nudity & Sexual Activity” on their platforms.“Using our apps to harm children is abhorrent and unacceptable,” Facebook’s release read. “Our industry-leading efforts to combat child exploitation focus on preventing abuse, detecting and reporting content that violates our policies, and working with experts and authorities to keep children safe.”Read more at The Daily Beast.Got a tip? Send it to The Daily Beast hereGet our top stories in your inbox every day. Sign up now!Daily Beast Membership: Beast Inside goes deeper on the stories that matter to you. Learn more.