Court orders YouTube, FB to give info on user promoting pedophilia
MANILA, Philippines — A Manila court has ordered social media giants Facebook and YouTube to release information that will lead to the prosecution of people behind a YouTube channel that had posted content on how to seduce minors.
In a press briefing on Tuesday, the Philippine National Police’s Anti-Cybercrime Group (ACG) said the Manila Regional Trial Court Branch 24 granted on July 20 and July 28 its two requests for warrants to disclose computer data (WDCD), ordering Meta and Google — the respective parent companies of Facebook and YouTube — to release subscriber information, chats, images and other content posted on social media by “Usapang Diskarte.”
The warrants were endorsed on Tuesday to the Department of Justice Office of Cybercrime, which acts as the central agency in serving cybercrime and cyber-related warrants on foreign entities.
In granting the WDCD, the court said there was probable cause to believe that the people behind the YouTube channel and Facebook page of Usapang Diskarte violated Republic Act No. 10175, or the Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012, particularly provisions outlawing child pornography.
The ACG will use the requested data to file a complaint against the people behind Usapang Diskarte. It expects Facebook and Google to comply with the WDCD within a month.
“This can include thousands of images, information on the account owner as well as their subscribers, chat logs and other information. We expect this investigation to be heavy,” said Lt. Col. Irene Cena of the ACG-Women and Children Cybercrime Protection Unit.
According to Lt. Michelle Sabino, spokesperson for the ACG, the WDCD was necessary so the social media companies can disclose the names of the persons behind the account as their identities are protected by data privacy laws.
“We will be getting data from these two social media giants, so we could get traces, logs, images and videos. This will ensure that we will have an airtight case, grounded with solid evidence,” Sabino said.
“I encourage people who may have information about Usapang Diskarte, and people who felt they were abused by the viral post to come forward and come to us. We are here to help you,” said Brig. Gen. Joel Doria, acting director of ACG.
Usapang Diskarte, which has accounts both on YouTube and Facebook, had been uploading videos promoting and normalizing sexual abuse and the exploitation of children since its creation in 2016.
It has attracted more than 252,000 subscribers and followers, which the ACG said were “connected to a group of sexual predators who equates ‘macho’ with being abusive.”
Before its channel was taken down by YouTube on July 14 for violating community guidelines, it had posted a total of 987 videos, some with vulgar titles promoting pedophilia.
In one of the videos’ discussion thread, a 29-year-old YouTube user admitted he had a “secret relationship” for eight months with a 12-year-old girl after he “conditioned” her to have sex with him. Another user even asked for tips on how to lure girls aged 5 to 8.
By mid-July, social media users sounded the alarm over Usapang Diskarte. This caught the attention of Sen. Risa Hontiveros, who pushed for the passage of the anti-online sexual abuse and exploitation of children bill.
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