(L-R) Shehzad Roy, M. Tahir Rai and Iqbal Detho at the programme organised by Zindagi Trust in collaboration with Meta.
Zindagi Trust in collaboration with Meta (Facebook) hosted a roundtable discussion at GECE Hussainabad to identify ways to make digital platforms safer for children and share policy recommendations with government agencies to help create better reporting mechanisms.
On behalf of Meta, the Head of Safety Policy, Shireen Vakil informed the audience about safety measures available for young users on family apps of Meta to safeguard themselves from predators online. She highlighted the new technology being used at Meta, including artificial intelligence and machine learning to detect inappropriate content and remove it accordingly.
The Director General of Federal Investigation Agency (FIA), Muhammad Tahir Rai, was also present at the occasion along with representatives from the Cyber Crime Wing. The Director briefed the audience about the measures being taken by Cyber Crime Wing to identify cybercriminals and curb different forms of cybercrimes across Pakistan.
Although over 2 million cases of child exploitation imagery were uploaded on Facebook platform in 2021 alone, the Director cited that only a total of 343 cases have been reported to FIA in the last 5 years. To help address this gap, he encouraged people to report cases and lodge complaint against sexual predators online and thereby help FIA take immediate action against them.
Another panel speaker, Mr. Iqbal Detho, Member of the National Commission on the Rights of Child, stressed the need to review Prevention of Electronic Crimes Act 2016 (PECA) as well as the Pakistan Penal Code and make amendments for child safety in digital spaces. He also emphasized the implementation of policy making at the provincial level to help bring justice and provide legal aid to victims.
Sharing his thoughts on the campaign, Founder and President of Zindagi Trust, Shehzad Roy said:
“Whenever I used to encounter disturbing content, my first instinct was to share it so it could help find the perpetrator. However, I have realised that the content can be distressing for many viewers and is a breach of privacy of the victims. We want to push for justice for victims and advocate for safer digital spaces instead of sensationalising traumatic events. Zindagi Trust takes pride in being a vocal advocate of policy level change for children's safety and education. We rely on the support of government institutions and social media companies like Meta to help us achieve our goals”
Sarim Aziz, Director Public Policy, South Asia-Meta said:
“We have a zero-tolerance policy for content related to child exploitation and abuse. We use latest ground breaking technology to prevent, detect and remove content related to child abuse and violence. Since this is a highly sensitive matter, we take a comprehensive approach to keep our family of apps free of such malicious content and continue to collaborate with local authorities, rights bodies and relevant stakeholders to fully ensure that the victims are not repeatedly traumatized by sharing evidence of their ordeal. Instead the content should be reported through proper channels so that the government agencies can move against those responsible”
Under this collaboration, Zindagi Trust also produced an informative video to educate people about the harms of sharing inappropriate content and encourage them to report malicious content through proper channels instead of sharing it further.
This discussion was the first of a series of roundtable discussions which are scheduled to take place at Zindagi Trust to engage various stakeholders and identify policy recommendations to make online spaces safer for children in Pakistan.
As an individual, you too can play your role and help protect survivors by reporting child sexual abuse material instead of sharing it further. If you come across any inappropriate content online, we urge you to report it to the relevant authorities by using any of the links below:
National Response Centre for Cyber Crime:
Online Child Protection - Safety Center (Facebook):