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#TakeItDown

Entered in Call to Action, Community Management, Non-Profit, Public Service Announcement, Social Activism, Social Good Campaign

Objective

The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children receives 80k+ reports of suspected online child sexual abuse material (CSAM) daily. While tech companies in the US are legally required to report child sexual abuse imagery, they’re not required to proactively search for it. There is no punishment for platforms that don't remove it quickly. ChildFund’s #TakeItDown is a national multimedia campaign to increase public support to pressure policymakers to regulate tech to proactively remove child sexual abuse content from their platforms. 

Launched in September 2023, the campaign features:

Strategy

As head of the OSEAC (Online Sexual Exploitation and Abuse of Children) Coalition, ChildFund leads political advocacy against online child sexual exploitation and abuse; our task was to mobilize the public around this work. We focused on a visible aspect of abuse–Child Sexual Abuse Material (CSAM)– the record of abuse that is housed and distributed online. 

The amount of child sexual abuse imagery circulating online has exploded. 27 million unique files were reported to The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children in 2022 alone. NCMEC’s CyberTipline saw a 47% increase in reports between 2020 and 2022 (a 23% increase from the year before.) The recirculation of abuse imagery forces survivors to relive the trauma.

While tech companies in the US are legally required to report this material when they are made aware of it, they are not required to proactively search for it and there is no punishment for platforms who do not remove it quickly. Nor are they being mandated to do so by law.  

Our target were parents who worried about their children's safety online but don't feel that they have the power to protect them, and young adults (age 18-24) who have younger siblings. They were the guinea pigs for an unregulated internet, and are advocating for stronger protections. Alongside child/survivor focused partner organizations who could lend expertise, support and reach. Uniting these audiences, we were able to create powerful momentum to support regulation of tech (Stop CSAM Act) and greater protections for children online by encouraging them to speak directly to policymakers. 

 

With the emotive and visceral ask of “Take It Down,” the creative sought to rally our targets and put pressure on policymakers to hold tech companies accountable for the amount of child sexual abuse material on their platforms. The goal was simple: by making people aware how much child sexual abuse material is online and how little tech companies do to protect children, we can pressure Congress to mandate Tech to take it down. ‘Technology created this monster, only technology can #TakeItDown.’

We began with a PSA showing how technology has created the perfect environment for the creation and distribution of child sexual abuse material. In the film, our main character gives a matter-of-fact delivery on how monsters have never been more free to engage in their monstrous behavior. In a behind the scenes segment of the documentary series, we revealed the inspiration for the monster character. We sourced drawings created by children who were victims of sexual abuse to provide the inspiration for the creation of the mask. The series also included interviews with leading experts and advocates who explained the urgency of the Take It Down message. And we created a destination, childfund.org/takeitdown, a site that provides resources for parents, links for survivors and an innovative way to take action: a single-click public pressure button that lets users tell members of Congress to pass new legislation to protect kids online.

Results

The campaign captured press attention: At launch, we secured exclusives in People Magazine, MSNBC’s Morning Joe and additional coverage in CNN International, Associated Press, NY1/Spectrum and more. High-profile influencers including Paris Hilton, Lucy Hale, Wanda Sykes, Jillian Michaels and Margaret Cho shared the message on social media. The campaign garnered support from key policymakers and policy leaders including early champion, Senator Dick Durbin.

Our small paid media efforts outperformed benchmarks. We secured print, digital and OOH pro bono placement, earning over $1,000,000 in gratis media, increasing our media budget seven-fold. 

The PSA is also now part of the Department of Homeland Security’s iGuardian training program to teach online safety in schools. The first two weeks that the PSA was integrated into trainings, reached approximately 3,750 students and parents. One active investigation has opened due to victim disclosure. The program is projected to reach over 7,500 students and parents each month. 

The PSA and support generated by the campaign is continuing to be used to pressure members of Congress to regulate tech and demand they protect children on their platforms. On 1/31/2024 CEOs of 5 leading tech companies testified in front of Congress to address how they will protect children on their platforms.

 

Media

Video for #TakeItDown

Entrant Company / Organization Name

WRTHY, ChildFund International

Links

Entry Credits