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    What Happens When Hundreds of People Retweet Child Porn?What Happens When Hundreds of People Retweet Child Porn?

    What Happens When Hundreds of People Retweet Child Porn?

    Slane Castle in Ireland, site of the concert in question. Via Wiki Commons

    What do you do when hundreds, if not thousands, of people are sharing what technically amounts to child porn on social media? We’re about to find out in Ireland.

    During Saturday’s Eminem concert in Slane Castle, a teen girl was photographed giving a man oral sex and other intimate acts. By Sunday afternoon, whoever the creep was that took the photos uploaded them onto the Internet, and they went viral.

    The hashtag #slanegirl trended on Twitter, and the three different photos circulated for more than 24 hours, even trending globally for a brief period early Monday morning. Some tweets of the image got more than 200 retweets.

    Over on Facebook, people are complaining about seeing the image repeatedly in their timeline, while a “Slane Girl” Facebook page received 8,000 likes before being removed early Monday.  

    As you'd expect by the double standards of the Internet, the guys featured in the incriminating photos are being called “hero” and “legend” while the girl is currently being slut-shamed, mocked and occasionally pitied. No one has bothered to identify the males, but the girl’s identity has been discovered (on her Instagram she lists her age as 16) and circulated.

    Irish authorities have confirmed that the girl in question is underage, and have launched an investigation. While the authorities have not yet contacted the man or the photographer, they presumably will, as everything depicted in the photographs could be considered child pornography. Sharing pornographic images of anyone under 18 (or 17 in Ireland) is illegal, and even if the others involved are also underage, they could still be charged with the distribution of child porn.

    It doesn't fit the image of a creepy old man on the internet, but minors sharing explicit photos of their peers is not something authorities take lightly. For recent precedent, just look at the Steubenville case in the US, where one of the young men who shared explicit photos was convicted—among other things—of a child porn distribution charge.

    That the photos are illegal also makes sharing them on Facebook and Twitter a violation of their Terms of Service. Facebook and Twitter both use Microsoft’s anti-child pornography software PhotoDNA, which watermarks offending images and filters all photos through the service, and is supposed to prevent said image from being re-uploaded. 

    It took Twitter more than 12 hours to start suspending users sharing the photo, however, and their PhotoDNA system doesn’t appear to be working properly as teens and young adults are still uploading and sharing the photos from the concert and copies of the photo uploaded early Sunday were still up at press time. From Twitter’s ToS:

    When we are made aware of links to images promoting child sexual exploitation they will be removed from Twitter without further notice and reported to The National Center for Missing & Exploited Children ("NCMEC"). We permanently suspend accounts promoting or containing updates with links to child sexual exploitation.

    As far as the investigation goes, at least one person tweeted today she was asked by said police to present a report in person, which she is presumably doing. So far the Irish press has been fairly quiet about the matter except for journalists tweeting their praises over not publishing the photo, with #slanegirl appearing only on a couple radio programs and a few news reports trickling in now that the Garda Síochána (Irish police) is on the case.

    Topics: crime, cybercrime, digital rape, slane girl

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