The organization jugendschutz.net registered more than 6,500 cases of sexual violence against children and adolescents, bullying, right-wing extremism and other violations of the Youth Media Service contract last year. About 90 percent of this was spent on foreign services, especially on YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, Tumblr and Twitter.
Jugendschutz.net, as a joint initiative of the federal government and the federal states, reviews violations of child and youth protection in the network. In its new annual report (PDF), it draws a balance sheet which in many parts matches or comes close to that of the previous year:
The number of misrepresentations, the jugenschutz.net discovered increased in 2018 to 3441, which is 459 more than last year. 89 percent of the pictures showed sexual abuse of children, four percent of the abuse of adolescents.
Most of the pictures and videos were distributed via servers in Russia, the Netherlands and the USA. The organization criticizes the blogging platform Tumblr, which Verizon recently sold to Automattic, the company behind Wordpress.com. On Tumblr there are always freely available child pornographic images. But even on Instagram and WhatsApp such content would be shared, but not public.
After all, the deletion rate is high. German offers were 100 percent quickly removed, offers from abroad to 92 percent. In the total cut it took after the appropriate message 6.5 days, in Germany 3.5 days.
Complaints from users bring in part nothing
However, a persistent problem with deleting reported content is the nature of the complaint. On the one hand, the reporting options are "sometimes difficult to find and cumbersome to handle".
On the other hand, it always makes a difference whether an organization like jugendschutz.net reports content to the provider, or whether the normal user does. Their complaints are too rarely respected, such as when it comes to harassment or cyberbullying. In a test of 950 cases on Snapchat, Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, Tumblr and Twitter, the operators deleted only about a third of the content complained of by users. According to a message from jugenschutz.net but another 39 percent were blocked or removed.
Especially striking was the mismatch with Tumblr. Only four percent of user reports led to a deletion, but at least 56 percent of the reports by the youth protection organization.
In addition, the organization analyzed 17 YouTube channels of children's influencers, each with more than 50,000 subscribers. All 17 "contained evidence of child rights violations," the report says. They would be filmed in the bath or in their pajamas, in embarrassing situations, or "in short clothing, sometimes in a coquettish manner".
The youth protection workers demand above all safe presettings for accounts of minors. Profiles should not be immediately publicly visible and communication limited to the circle of friends, location data should not be transmitted. In addition, none of the services reviewed performed a reliable age test.