Published September 29, 2010
Facebook has begun to remove pages that refer to the North American Man/Boy Love Association following a FoxNews.com exclusive report that revealed the nefarious pedophile advocacy group's presence on the popular social networking site.
Group pages that have been scrubbed from Facebook include:
-- The Greensburg group of the North American Man Boy Love Association, whose page featured a photo of a young child;
-- “N.A.M.B.L.A. (East Lansing Chapter), which had a photo of a child who appeared to be about 5 years old.
-- “NAMBLA” in the “Organizations-Advocacy Organizations” category, which featured a photo of a man being kissed on the cheek by a small child. Its description read: “We are the North American Man/Boy Love Association. Our sole purpose is to push forward the concept that a consenting man (18+) and a consenting minor (-18) can have a sexual and loving relationship legally. Feel free to send your questions comments or constructive criticism to [redacted e-mail address]. Thank you for your time and support and remember keep fighting the good fight!”
-- “N.A.M.B.L.A.,” which said it “advocates the legalization of sexual relations between adult male and under-aged boys" and that it has resolved to "end the oppression of men and boys who have freely chosen mutually consenting relationships," in spite of what it acknowledges is "the fact that such relationships are seen as child abuse where the minor is unable to give consent.”
FoxNews.com alerted Facebook to the existence of those pages on Sept. 23 during its investigation of the group's presence on the website, which led to an article, "EXCLUSIVE: Pedophiles Find a Home for Social Networking -- on Facebook," which was published on Sept. 28.
The article revealed that NAMBLA, the world’s largest pedophile advocacy group, has been using Facebook to connect with other like-minded individuals, share photos and find new victims.
Despite Facebook’s policy against the posting of content that supports groups engaged in child exploitation, FoxNews.com easily found dozens of pages proudly proclaiming an affiliation with the North American Man/Boy Love Association. Many of those pages featured numerous photos of unnamed boys, who appeared to be around 4 years old.
While some pages had been purged by Wednesday, other NAMBLA links remained on Facebook, including links to the group’s website posted on the walls of the Desperate Housewives television show page and on the wall of Ramona Singer, a cast member of the Real Housewives of New York.
“Gay Kids,” a Facebook page mentioned on the notorious pedophile blog Boy Chat, remained active with 588 members on Wednesday. And the Facebook profile of a former child actor mentioned on Boy Chat also remained active.
Following the publication of FoxNews.com’s report on Tuesday, NAMBLA spokesman Arnold Schoen replied to a six-day-old e-mail request for comment.
"If you really investigated," Schoen wrote, "you would learn that actually we have never set up any pages on Facebook. And we certainly haven't ever used facebook to connect with our members, to find or exchange photos, to 'hone predatory behavior,' or to 'identify, target and reel in child victims.' This is a wild fantasy boogeyman FoxNews is holding up for their fans."
Facebook did not return an e-mail request for comment on this article. But members of the pedophile blog "Boy Chat" were freely discussing Tuesday's report.
One Boy Chat user said, “Wonderful, I'll open 20 Facebook accounts... ... in the next 24 hours.They will match my 17 Youtube ones (I lost three, bummer)”
“What Fox news didn't mention in this article is that there are a handful of pedophiles lurking on facebook that have created multiple facebook groups that appear innocent on the surface (like it'll be a group for video games or something) but are actually secret pedophile networks! And they are out to befriend everybody's children!!!! They even made one that's supposedly a group for people who love Oprah!”
Facebook needs to do a whole lot more to keep predators off their site than just removing profile pages mentioned in the press, said Det. Richard Wistocki, a member of the Illinois Internet Crimes Against Children and the U.S. Secret Service Computer Crimes Task Forces.
“It’s always been a knee-jerk reaction with Facebook — they can be doing so much more,” said Wistocki, who also teaches social network investigations at the Suburban Law Enforcement Academy and is the owner of Be Sure Consulting.
He said Facebook should be taking a proactive, not reactive, approach to keeping criminals off their site. The company could do key word and script searches and compile blacklists of known illegal content to block from Facebook.
Instead, Wistocki says, the company removes content from Facebook only after it is reported by a member of the Facebook community.
So, links and pages remain until they are seen — if they are seen — by someone who decides to report it.
Most importantly, Wistocki says, Facebook needs to forge a better working relationship with law enforcement.
“My problem is the lack of support to law enforcement, to give us the information we want and need. They obstruct our investigations,” he said.
“Facebook has always been a problem.”