Saturday, February 12, 2011

Facebook: The Dark Side of the Great Cyber-Nation: Child Pornography

Human Trafficking on Facebook. Yes. And here is the truth of the matter . . .

All free societies give equal opportunity for their angels and their demons. When given its liberties, all aspects of human nature, good and bad, glorious and evil, have the freedom to make the most of its creations.

Given a voice, "The better angels" of a free society often bring these liberties to other cultures waiting eagerly for their divine right to equality and justice.

This week the world witnessed the beautiful contagion of democracy spread from one free Cyber- Nation to the people of Egypt. Facebook, often referred to as the third-most populous nation on earth (with 500 million users, it falls behind China and India respectively), has been given overwhelming credit for the revolution in Egypt by those who used its instant power of communication to undercut Mubarek's authority.

Just a few short weeks ago, Wael Ghonim, a 30 year old Egyptian computer engineer began a revolution by igniting the first protests in his country on Facebook. He was detained by authorities there, held for 12 days, and then released. This was the beginning of the end for Mobarek’s three decades of perpetual “State of Emergency” dictatorship. Of the revolution going beyond Egypt, Ghonim advised, “If you want to liberate a government, give them the internet.” And when asked by CNN which nation would be next, he simply said, “Ask Facebook.”

Indeed, for the first time in human history, we can go beyond simply calling ourselves 'citizens of the world.' Now, we can truly behave as fellow citizens, concerned for our mutual liberties, safety, well-being, and future. Consider that Facebook and other Social Networking sites are in their mere infancy. As this and related technology spreads, so too will our collective ability to communicate, share, understand, and accept freely. Borders between nations - borders of all kinds: political, cultural, religious, linguistic, and economic - will begin to fade along with the arrogance and ignorance that built them in the first place.

But first, we have work to do. As in any open society, there are also the dark passengers beside us on this journey. Within Facebook, and throughout the internet, there are those who seek to constantly feed their twisted desires and validate their abuse of children by building relationships with others who prey on youth across the globe.

The evidence is clear and growing. Child Pornography – a form of human trafficking under United States Law and International Agreements – has invaded Facebook. This new “land of the free” is in danger of becoming yet another nation which cannot govern itself to the extent that it can protect its ‘citizens’ from the most dangerous among us.

This is not a problem without a solution. Events in Egypt prove this. As Facebook is used by revolutionaries throughout the world, we need to spark a revolution within Facebook itself. We must light up these dark corners of our Cyber-Nation – of which we are all a part - and expose the violence lurking there.

Just this morning, one insightful website asks: "If Wael Ghonim can start this revolution, which in-turn freed a country… with the internet at your fingertips, I ask, “What can YOU do?” If Social Media can free Egypt… IMAGINE the change WE can stir!"

Yes. Imagine, a Facebook that spreads freedom to billions across the world who are waiting for their turn while crushing those who delight in the most terrible abuses of our world's children.

“This revolution started online, started on Facebook,” Ghonim said. "I want to meet Mark Zuckerburg one day and thank him." Yes, I would like to meet him as well and – one day – thank him for ridding his website of these criminals.

At this very moment, we are creating tools and resources you can use for placing pressure on Facebook, certainly a free society from which we all benefit, to implement effective policies and procedures that will not allow sexually explicit images of children to be posted, shared, or traded among pedophiles. Soon, we will be asking you to march in the city square. Get ready.