CNET también está disponible en español.

Ir a español

Don't show this again

Internet Services

WhatsApp under fire for failing to remove child porn

Kiddie porn is reportedly being spread in WhatsApp chat groups.

WhatsApp logo is seen trough a magnifying glass on an

WhatsApp's logo. 

Getty Images

Facebook-owned WhatsApp is being criticized for failing to curb the spread of child pornography on the messaging app.

A report by two Israeli online safety groups, Netivei Reshet and Screensaverz, concluded that it was easy to find WhatsApp groups in which people shared images and videos of children being sexually abused. 

Some third-party apps that provide links to join WhatsApp groups have sections for adult content, which have been used to share child pornography on the platform, according to TechCrunch, which translated the report.

The researchers contacted Facebook about the problem, but news outlets, including the Financial Times, found that several of the groups were still active on the platform. One child pornography group chat had 256 members from various countries, including the US, and was active earlier this week. The accounts in the group were later banned by WhatsApp, which also said it had been flagged internally before the Financial Times alerted the company.

The two nonprofits discovered the child pornography groups during the summer after a man called a hotline to report them.

A WhatsApp spokesperson said that the company "has a zero-tolerance policy around child sexual abuse." 

"We deploy our most advanced technology, including artificial intelligence, to scan profile photos and images in reported content, and actively ban accounts suspected of sharing this vile content," the spokesperson said. The company also responds to requests from law enforcement and reports abuse to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.  

WhatsApp recently banned roughly 130,000 accounts in 10 days for violating its rules against child sexual abuse. 

The Honeymoon Is Over: Everything you need to know about why tech is under Washington's microscope.

Infowars and Silicon Valley: Everything you need to know about the tech industry's free speech debate.