Sexual chat programs
“There are companies out there that are doing a very good job, working within the confines of what they have available,” said Brooke Donahue, a supervisory special agent with an FBI team devoted to Internet predators and child pornography.“There are companies out there that are more concerned about profitability.” Two recent incidents are raising new questions about companies’ willingness to invest in safety.Filters and moderators are essential for a clean experience, said Claire Quinn, safety chief at a smaller site aimed at kids and young teens, Wee World.But the programs and people cost money and can depress ad rates.
Sites aimed at those under 13 are very different from those with large teen audiences.
Last month the maker of a smartphone app called Skout, designed for flirtation with strangers in the same area, admitted its use had led to sexual assaults on three teenagers by adults.
The venture-backed firm had not verified that users of its now-shuttered teen section were under 20, giving predators easy access.
Companies can set the software to take many defensive steps automatically, including temporarily silencing those who are breaking rules or banning them permanently.
As a result, many threats are eliminated without human intervention and moderators at the company are notified later.