Meta Supports Hotline Expansion in Africa
With 54 countries across Africa, but only one INHOPE member hotline, the need for national hotlines and awareness raising across the region is outstanding. Using our country assessment framework, INHOPE determined specific high-risk locations within Africa to be a core part of the network expansion strategy for 2023 and 2025.
The applied framework evaluates socioeconomic and geographical factors, which all contribute to the prioritisation and creation of a local hotline. Some of the factors include:
- The government's engagement in fighting online child sexual abuse material (CSAM).
- The presence of a task force.
- The presence of a CSAM police unit
- The presence of international and national child protection organisations.
- The likelihood of INHOPE successfully setting up a hotline.
- The risk factors such as hosting volume and the production of CSAM.
- Current legislation in place.
“Tackling CSAM requires many stakeholders including government, national law enforcement, NGOs, hosting providers and industry. And, long-term success is measured by more than reporting numbers, it's about changes in legislation (an alarming number of countries still do not define CSAM), allowing law enforcement to prioritise cases, raising awareness of the existing of CSAM and education of how and why to report. Our valued partner since 2015, Meta, understands the importance of a local presence and their support is allowing us to expand our network.” - Samantha Woolfe, Head of Network Expansion and Global Partnerships at INHOPE
Establishing a hotline is just one step, the next is communicating this to the public, which comes with its own obstacles. When we think about the ability to report we can sometimes oversimplify this by just considering the online platform. However, online platforms like Meta are acutely aware of the challenges and apply data-driven approaches to better respond and develop ways to intervene and prevent CSAM. In fact, the ability to report is just a part of the problem in high-risk regions. Often the issue stems from a lack of awareness and education.
How we communicate is highly reflective of these differences and often the spread of CSAM online can also be linked to a lack of education on the harm that this material has. Meta evaluated 150 accounts on Facebook that they reported to the US hotline NCMEC for uploading CSAM in July and August of 2020 and January 2021, and estimated that more than 75% of these did not exhibit malicious intent (i.e. did not intend to harm a child), but appeared to share for other reasons, such as outrage or poor humour.
“We’re proud to support INHOPE’s efforts to expand its hotline in Africa. We recognize the importance of working with organizations like INHOPE to protect children online, and we’re committed to our longstanding partnerships with experts in this space.” - Jason Barry, Trust and Safety Manager at Meta.
Creating a national hotline is complex, involves many stakeholders and requires significant time and dedication. This is why the support of a global network is necessary for long-term success and Meta’s funding will allow INHOPE to assist in the hard conversations that help provide the structure to tackle the problem as its core and build the stakeholder relationships on the ground that directly impact growth.