NEW DELHI: Social media apps, especially short video making apps like TikTok, Vigo Video, Kwai, and Clip are hugely popular in India among the youngsters and the rest of the age group also. But the downside or specifically speaking the dark side of these apps is being ignored by most of the users in the county.
Chinese video apps like Kwai and TikTok have become big hunting grounds for paedophiles. On these apps, the users and mostly small-age and young girls post 15-second clips of themselves. The videos may be of them doing lip-syncing to a vulgar song lyrics or dancing in an inappropriate manner. But the comments on their videos are mostly from men, praising the girls for showing their bodies. They even ask them in the comments to show more skin.
The comments are all vulgar, from nearly every man who comments on the video.
Nitish Chandan, Project manager at Cyber Peace Foundation (a non-profit organization in New Delhi that deals with child porn cases) said, “Short video apps are the new ground to groom underage girls”.
Last year, this organization found an increase in the cases of child sexual abuse, harassment, bullying, and blackmail and in all these cases the perpetrators found the victims via these social media apps only.
He also mentioned that porn is a deep-rooted problem in India and the content on an app like Kwai is just the tip of the iceberg. He said that according to the stats, the Asian kids are the most in demand for child pornography.
Chandan’s foundation had received 148 cases of child harassment originating from the social apps, and many cases have also gone unreported.
He also told that the paedophiles exploit a child’s addiction to gaming apps or challenges on social media. The trend of paedophiles sending videos to kids and asking them to imitate an adult, and send them back, is growing very quickly.
There have been cases of girls masturbating and sending their videos to a friend they just met on a social app! “Most of them don’t know what they are doing. They think they are completing a challenge and are going to win a contest”, Chandan said.
Millions of followers are there on these short video apps and their number is only increasing each month, very rapidly, after the access of data since the time it became cheaper. Where Kwai, (a Chinese app) claims to have around 10-15 million users in India, other apps like TikTok (built by Chinese giant ByteDance) has approximately 16 million Indian users. And then comes Clip (India-based app having China’s Shunwei Capital as an investor) also had around 3 million downloads in December 2017.
On these apps, the videos featuring girls as young as two or three, and teenagers also, show them being scantily dressed, with boys along with them dancing in an inappropriate way. They lip-sync, flirt with the audience, and pose in a vulgar manner. But one thing that has not been cleared is whether or not the accounts of these kinds of videos are owned by youngsters.
The social media video apps are designed to make the users hooked to them via a simple-to-navigate interface. And because they depend heavily on user-generated content, they run contests and campaigns to encourage local content. Viral content on the Kwai app is generated through campaigns like ‘Act like Amitabh Bachchan’, ‘Create a dance video using #BalleBalle’, or ‘Mime with your favorite Bollywood dialogue’. The prize money for these contests ranges from Rs.30,000 to Rs.1 lakh.
Ganta Murali, who’s the head of Kwai India, says that the app’s platform uses both the automatic and manual review systems for monitoring the content. The company holds training sessions to teach users to create videos. And those accounts which create popular videos receive monetary rewards. Some Indian users have earned up to $400 (nearly Rs.28,000) a month, Murali says.
He also said that most of the content featuring children comes from fake accounts, by which he means aggregators of such content or managed by parents or relatives of the children. On his behalf, he said, “There is a continuous audit to monitor content on our platform. If there is adult or inappropriate content featuring kids, it will be taken down”. But the content moderation team is based in Beijing, so it’s unlikely that this team (India-based) will be able to detect inappropriate content from an Indian child.
Spiderman: Into The Spider Verse ready to smash its estimated profits, aims to score big
Marvel is out with the seventh installment of the most loved Spiderman film series. But this time, it is the animated version. The film is based on the episodes of the television series of The Ultimate Spiderman.
On the film, there is a dimension where Miles Morales is the web shooter and not Peter Parker. He is still learning how to be the real superhero when he meets Peter Parker, who is from another dimension. He teaches him to be the real hero. In the time being some other Spidermen from various other dimensions come together into Morales’ dimension to defeat a common enemy. If they fail, they would not be able to return to their own world.
SPIDER-MAN INTO THE SPIDER-VERSE is swiftly becoming one of the best-loved Spider-Man movies yet. Within a little time of its release, the flick has been off to a great start. For a film, the review given by the critics matters a lot. And, it has a current approval rating of 97 percent on Rotten Tomatoes. It also has an A+ Cinema Score and a five-star PostTrak score.
Coming to the income, the film is made on an approximate budget of $ 90 Million, before promotional and advertising costs. But, the film pocketed around $ 3.9 Million in its Thursday Night Preview alone! One night got the creators $ 3.9 million!
Among the animated films, it got the highest opening weekend. Within the opening weekend, Spider-Verse had an income of $ 35.4 million at the domestic box office only. Coming to the global market, it grossed $ 21 Million overseas in the opening weekend in about 44 film markets, taking the total income to $ 56.4 Million, which is running against its budget of $ 90 million. Its most successful overseas market was South Korea, where it earned $3.3 million, and the UK followed at $2.9 million.#
In the clash between Mortal Engines and Spider-Verse, Marvel gained the upper hand. Mortal Engines stands at the fifth rank in the worldwide grosser list, with a disappointing $ 7.5 Million opening weekend, and now its global income has reached the figure of $ 42.2 Million, which looks far away from it’s making a budget of approx. $ 100 Million.
Overall, Marvel’s animated presentation of the web-slinger has been a great success. While the film awaits its release in China, matinees have started in America and India, and both these countries will be putting a huge impact on the box office records. So, it won’t be wrong to say that the film will overcome its estimated profit soon.
Facebook slammed for auctioning teen as child bride in a viral post
FavebookSAN FRANCISCO: Social Network giant Facebook has been slammed by human rights activists, for auctioning a teen as a child bride, in a post that went viral recently. Facebook failed to remove the post in which a South Sudanese man auctioned her 17-year-old daughter as a child bride, to the highest bidder.
In the auction, around five men, including the region’s deputy general, participated for bidding of the minor girl. The bid was won by a man who already had eight other wives. He paid the girl’s father two luxury cars, 500 cows, two bikes, a boat, mobile phones and $10,000 in cash.
The AfricanFeminism tweeted on late on Wednesday that a 16-year-old South Sudanese girl was sold off for marriage to the highest bidder on Facebook in November and a businessman from #SouthSudan outbid four others, which also included a senior Sudanese government official.
The post that went viral on Facebook read, “the biggest test of child abuse, trafficking and auctioning of a human being”, said Philips Anyang Ngong, a human rights lawyer. He also tried to stop the girl’s sale which couldn’t happen.
He said that those who were involved in this should be held responsible, including Facebook also. Plan International South Sudan, a Human rights organization, has condemned the use of the social media site for the girl’s auction. It compared it to modern-day slavery.
The organization’s director for South Sudan, George Otim, said, “This barbaric use of technology is reminiscent of latter-day slave markets”.
He also said that it’s beyond belief that a girl could be sold for marriage on the world’s biggest social networking site in this day.
A report of Human Rights Watch in 2015 noted that 40% of the girls in sub-Saharan Africa marry before they turn 18. Also, that 15 of the 20 nations with the highest rates of child marriage are in Africa.
Around 77% of the girls in Nigeria also get married before they are 18, while in Central African Republic and Chad, it’s about 60%.
This is not the first incident of trouble for Facebook though. Earlier this month, Facebook was also accused of encouraging grooming by offering teenage girls to middle-aged men as ‘friend suggestions’.
On the social networking site, teenage girls, who are about 13-year-old, and who join Facebook, are provided up to 300 suggestions regarding who they can add as their friends. Some of those suggestions include middle-aged men, being topless in their profile pictures.
Facebook, in its defence, has said that it has safeguards built into recommendation system.
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