It appears as if Pedophiles are now using the social media company Snapchat in order to attract and lure their prey in 2017 more so than ever before.
The disappearing photo application is incredibly popular amongst both middle school and high school aged children thus, in turn, making it more attractive for sexual predators to jump onto the platforms.
<a href="https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-11-08/snapchat-has-a-child-porn-problem">Bloomberg </a>has reported that criminal cases for child pornography and sexual predators who target children on Snapchat have been on the rise in recent years.
In fact in one case last year a 13-year-old boy from Illinois was using Snapchat to exchange messages with a female who told the child she was a 19-year-old and later began somewhat of an online romanticizing relationship.
The pair eventually began to exchange photos, in which the female asked the boy to send him a nude video of himself.
Later after sending the video the boy began to have doubts as well as second thoughts and tried to end the relationship at which time the female threatened to post the video publicly if he tried.
So the child told his parents, and they later called the police.
After cyber sleuthing the IP address of the adult it turned out that it was a 24-year-old man in California who had used what's described as “sextortion” tactics to exploit five other young boys in the past.
Investigators say that cases involving sexual exploitation and sexual extortion are becoming increasingly difficult to track due to software and applications like Snapchat which have disappearing messages; thus leaving less probable cause for a warrant.
It's also a key reason that so many pedophiles use it to begin with.
The <a href="https://www.brookings.edu/research/sextortion-cybersecurity-teenagers-and-remote-sexual-assault/">Brookings Institution </a>said that there were 78 cases of extortion they examined last year which had at least 1,397 victims in which 71% of those targeted were under the age of 18.
Social media manipulation via resources such as Snapchat had been used in 91% of the cases against the victims, according to the findings of the Brookings Institution.
A new study by the Crimes against Children Research Center of the University of New Hampshire determined in its conclusions that 54% of these sextortion victims were contacted by perpetrators through social networking platforms like Facebook and Instagram.
An additional 41% were through various messaging platforms such as Snapchat and Kik.
Even more so interesting is that various video and voice calling programs such as Facetime followed were used 23% of the time.
Similarly, multiple dating platforms like OKCupid and Tinder represented 9% of cases in the survey.
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As a result of some of these findings the parent company of Snapchat, Snap Inc., says that their company will begin to assist law enforcement to help prevent crimes against in oxen victims such as children from happening to any of its 178 million users.
Snap Inc., didn't say exactly how it's going to do this, but they say their software used both automated systems and staffers to ensure this problem can be halted.
Snapchat is also going to roll out new features to report abuse to help protect children.
The Snap Inc. company is also facing financial strains after they reported disappointing earnings in the third quarter of 2017. Snap’s overall loss was $443.2 million which computes to 36 cents per share on revenue of $207.9 million per share.
Investors on Wall Street had already anticipated a loss of $393.8 million or 32 cents a share on revenue of $235.5 million.
About 9% of Snapchat’s third-quarter losses, or about $39.9 million, was a result of the failures from its overpriced and undemanding $130 sunglasses-and-camera hybrid product which was a huge flop all around.
So not only are companies like Snapchat suffering from financial woes, but they're increasingly having to deal with being a haven for child sex predators and cyber criminals both of which result in straining the company.
Undoubtedly many such cases are occurring where a child or victim may legitimately believe they're in a romantic relationship but being misled by a predator or pedophile that they're unable to realize is even occurring.
This is a clear reason parent need to keep their eyes on what's going on with their kids and their devices as often as possible.
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