Global tech giants doing too little to control abuse content, report says

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Global technology giants are doing too little to remove video and images of child sexual exploitation from their own digital platforms, according to an Australian government report.

Using new legislation, Australian e-Safety Commissioner Julie Inman Grant compelled businesses ranging from Meta Inc.-owned Facebook to Microsoft Corp.’s Skype to disclose how they tackle the issue.

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The report released Thursday highlighted their inadequate use of detection technology and response times that can stretch to days.

Apple Inc. and Microsoft don’t pro-actively detect child abuse material stored on their iCloud and OneDrive services, despite the wide availability of identifying technology, the report found.

Neither company uses tools to detect live-streaming of abuse in video chats on Skype, Microsoft Teams or FaceTime, even though Skype is used extensively for this purpose, the report said.

In a statement, Microsoft described online child sexual exploitation as “a horrific crime,” and said the company is committed to combating its proliferation.

“We continue to challenge ourselves to adapt our response and welcome engagement with external stakeholders that can help us improve,” it said.

Apple didn’t respond to emails and calls seeking a response to the report.

“It is unacceptable that tech giants with long-term knowledge of extensive child sexual exploitation, access to existing technical tools and significant resources are not doing everything they can to stamp this out on their platforms,” Inman Grant said.

The typical time taken to remove content or ban a user after abusive material is reported ranges from 4 minutes at Snapchat to two days at Skype, according to the report.

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