Sharing Child Pornography to Help Catch a Predator is Still a Crime

Law enforcement agencies are warning social media users that sharing child pornography is a crime -- even if you're trying to help catch the predator.

Those good intentions can be considered criminal and lead to serious penalties under state and federal law. 

NBC4 began digging into the issue and learned that more than 1,000 people in Denmark are facing potential criminal charges because they allegedly sahre a video that showed teens in a sex act at a party. Another case in the U.S. landed at least one man behind bars.

Not only is sharing the content illegal, it actually slows down the law enforcement investigation by making the origin of an illegal image more difficult to track.

Link: Facebook Safety Team

Editor's Note: The information below is from the FBI. 

What should the public do if they come across child pornography on the internet or via social media/email?

The FBI advises against sharing child pornography in an effort to identify the perpetrator. Possession and dissemination of child pornography is a felony and you can be prosecuted for both possessing and disseminating it. By further disseminating such graphic imagery, you are re-victimizing the victim. Instead, the FBI recommends immediately notifying authorities.

If you receive child pornography via social media:

  • Do not save it to your device or share it further.
  • If posted on a social media site, report it to the social media platform for content violation. By reporting the content violation, the social media platform should maintain the image/video, and it will initiate their internal protocols of reporting as well.
  • If received via email, do not save it to your device or click on the image or any corresponding links. Close the email and report it to the appropriate authorities.

To report child pornography and other incidents of sexual exploitation of children, call your local FBI field office or state police officials. Contact the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children at 1-800-THE-LOST or submit via the FBI tips line at 1-800-CALL-FBI.

The Endangered Child Alert Program (ECAP), is a collaborative effort between NCMEC and the FBI to use publicity to identify unknown individuals involved in the sexual abuse of children and the production of child pornography. Current ECAP cases can be found on this website.

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