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Facebook group set up to hunt down perverts
A CAMPAIGN group that aims to track down and expose online paedophiles has been set up on Facebook, the social networking site on which a North-East teenager was groomed before she was murdered.
The Mommies on a Mission group wants to prevent a repeat of the murder of Ashleigh Hall, 17, who died after she arranged to meet killer Peter Chapman via the website.
It was set up after a number of mothers became aware of the prevalence of suspicious men and women who were befriending very young children and posting provocative pictures.
The group looks at profiles and if they contain suspicious material, reports them to Facebook.
However, a number of members are concerned about the length of time it is taking for the social networking site to remove offensive material.
Many of the pictures contain images of children in various states of undress and some of the suspected adults claim to be in relationships with youngsters.
Members of Mommies on a Mission contacted The Northern Echo for help following the newpaper’s successful Safety Net campaign, which was set up in the wake of Ashleigh’s murder and called for greater safety measures online.
Leanne Moss, from Hull, who helped to set up the group, which has attracted more than 300 members in two days, said she was shocked at what some of the profiles contained.
She said: “There is indecent pictures of young girls of ten posing in their knickers, it is disgusting.
“I have spoken to the police and Facebook and feel like I am banging my head against a brick wall.
“We are posting the links to the profiles so people from all over the world can see them.
“It is far too easy for these people to get in touch with our kids.”
Last night, the Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre (Ceop), an organisation of police and child protection specialists, said anyone seeing suspicious content on Facebook should install and use the ClickCeop application to report it.
The safety button was one of the measures that Safety Net campaigned for, and it has already been installed by more than 55,000 people.
A spokeswoman for Ceop said: “We are very interested to know about any concerns that people have around an individual suspected of grooming or anything like that.
“That is why we work with Facebook on the ClickCeop app that enables people to report concerns.”
A spokeswoman for Facebook said: “Just as the people who use Facebook create all the content for the site, they also manage and regulate it.
“We provide them with the tools to report any users or content they think is inappropriate, through reporting links on every page.
“Facebook prioritises the most serious reports, acting on most within 24 hours.”
Chapman, a convicted sex offender, was jailed for a minimum of 35 years in March.