Meta removes Facebook page, group with child exploitation content after IMDA alert

It was the first time the IMDA exercised its authority under the amended Broadcasting Act to combat such content.

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IMDA Urges Meta to Take Immediate Action: Removing Child Sexual Exploitation Material on Facebook Page and Group. (Photo: Getty Images)

SINGAPORE — The Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA) has notified Meta, the parent company of Facebook, to urgently review and remove a Facebook Page and Group containing child sexual exploitation material

This marks the first time the IMDA has exercised its authority under the amended Broadcasting Act to address such content, said the authority in a media release on Friday (9 June).

Meta promptly removed the offensive material from its platform within 24 hours.

Additionally, IMDA has directed internet service providers in Singapore to block a website associated with the Facebook Page and Group, which facilitated the distribution of further child exploitation content.

Investigation uncovered network promoting child sexual exploitation material

The investigation was initiated after the Singapore Police Force alerted the IMDA to a Facebook Page that was involved in a network promoting the sharing of the child exploitation material.

The police told Yahoo Southeast Asia that the Facebook page was uncovered during investigations against a 42-year-old man for possession of child sex material.

Subsequently, the IMDA discovered a Facebook Group with similar content, including hyperlinks directing viewers to a website hosting the content.

The IMDA and the SPF firmly condemn the solicitation and distribution of such material, recognising it as an egregious form of harmful content, as defined by the amended Broadcasting Act.

The act holds social media platforms accountable for ensuring the safety of local users by safeguarding them from online harm. Failure to comply with the amended legislation may result in significant penalties, including fines of up to $1 million or the blocking of social media services in Singapore.

A comprehensive effort involving all stakeholders is necessary to tackling the global issue of harmful online content, the IMDA said.

"The Singapore government has strengthened our regulatory framework and will continue its efforts in ensuring that regulatory and public education measures can address the growing range of harmful online content and protect Singapore users against online harms," the IMDA wrote in its statement.

The authority also emphasised the crucial role that social media services play in ensuring the safety of all users, particularly children and reaffirmed its commitment to collaborate closely with social media services to enhance Singapore's online safety further.

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