Google and Facebook attacked over 'paltry' donations to internet child protection charity


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The Independent Tech

Three of the internet's most profitable companies have pledged “paltry” amounts to child protection bodies, despite their continued verbal support.

Google raised just over £20,000 to the Internet Watch Foundation [IWF] - a figure that accounts for 90 seconds' profit for the search engine giant. Facebook's donation totalled at around £10,000 and Microsoft pledged roughly £20,000, according to the IWF's records.

Each of the internet giants have a multi-billion dollar annual turnover.

Tackling online child abuse and the ease of its accessibility has turned fresh heads this week as a slew of child abuse images were found on the computer of April Jones's killer, Mark Bridger.

Bridger, who was jailed for life earlier this week after being found guilty of killing the five-year-old girl in October last year, searched for disturbing images of child abuse and rape.

Some of the killer's most visited websites showed violent images of murders, beheadings and dead children.

Keith Vaz, the chairman of the home affairs select committee, told The Guardian that the biggest internet firms in the world needed to support the IWF both verbally and financially.

He said: “I am shocked that, despite the importance they have said they place on its role in keeping our children safe, they have donated such paltry amounts to it, which for them represent a drop in the ocean. As it stands, it is difficult to take their commitment to protecting our children seriously.”

Some of the biggest web companies in the world are a member of the IWF and between them, at any one time, block some 1,000 illegal websites.

The foundation has a staple of five analysts that work toward finding and weeding out unlawful images and videos. But the number of reports of illegal material online has risen by 40% from last year to around 40,000.

Sir Richard Tilt, the IWF's chair of the board of trustees, claimed that further funds would be helpful to the cause.

He said:  “There's certainly scope for increasing our number of analysts and we know if we had more analysts we could do better. If we could get more money that would enable us to do more.”