February 8, 2018 3:11 pm

Facebook users trying to stop child porn from spreading accidentally made it go viral

Facebook users spread child porn in an attempt to stop it.

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Facebook users seemingly trying to stop child porn from spreading did the opposite — by sharing it instead.

Several police departments in the U.S. have raised concerns over the video, which shows a sex act between a young girl and a man. The video was accompanied by a message urging people to share it, in hopes of finding the man involved.

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The Columbus Division of Police in Ohio explained that several people across the U.S. received the video through Facebook Messenger.

But police warned people not to fall for the ploy.

“If you receive or know of someone who has received this message DO NOT open the link or video and DO NOT forward the link or video,” Columbus police wrote on Facebook.

“Forwarding the video would constitute a criminal violation and could make you and your electronic devices the subject of a criminal investigation and seizure.”

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Police in Orlando sent out a similar message, saying the video was flagged by at least 50 residents in the community in about one week.

Sgt. Tami Edwards told WKMG-TV that people are “blindly sharing” the video, which was first posted in August 2017.

“It’s picked up viral status on social media and people are blindly sharing it in the interest of trying to identify the suspect and the child,” she said.

“It’s a nationwide epidemic now,” Edwards added. “We don’t know how the video originated on Facebook Messenger and other social media apps, we know the caption was to share.”

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According to the Associated Press, the video was also shared in other countries such as France.

In an email statement to Global News Thursday, Facebook said it is aware of the video.

“We reported the video to the appropriate authorities, and we have used PhotoDNA technology to automatically prevent future uploads and shares,” the statement read.

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“Sharing any kind of child exploitative imagery using Facebook or Messenger is not acceptable — even to express outrage. We are and will continue to be aggressive in preventing and removing such content from our community.”

The man allegedly involved in the video, 44-year-old Germaine Moore, surrendered to police in Alabama Tuesday.

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Moore also is charged in Detroit in the sexual assault of three young female relatives.

Prosecutors in Michigan say the assaults occurred in Detroit and at Moore’s home in Alabama.

— With files from the Associated Press

© 2018 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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