The Miami-Dade State Attorney’s Office issued an alert for parents about a social media cyber-bullying/child exploitation campaign online.
According to the SAO, in the last 24 hours, social media accounts were created and started soliciting South Florida users to send sexually explicit photographs of friends and acquaintances for publication without the senders consent. Investigators believe the creator of the social media accounts is in Miami.
The SAO said the accounts are related to the social media cyber-bullying campaign, “the purge.” The name of the campaign refers to the recent movie that imagines the country making all crimes legal for one night out of the year.
University of Miami Professor Mary Anne Franks has researched cyber law and has been following the recent uptick from “the purge.”
“The Twitter purge was the first one I’d seen that was actually an active movement trying to get people to violate someone else’s rights, that’s probably kind of new,” Franks said.
Local police agencies have been monitoring the case and along with the State Attorney’s Office have asked that parents remain vigilant.
“A lot of parents have learned that their children have been victimized because they were monitoring their pages,” said Kenia Reyes of the Miami Police Department.
In Florida, there are no laws against so-called “revenge-porn.” Still, posting or possessing some of the images still could mean big trouble for the people behind “the purge.”
“If it’s child porn, or if it’s a crime, you may be in some serious trouble,” Franks said. “Think about what this is going to do to this other person that you may not know.”
And that’s the part of the issue many kids and young adults don’t consider. Once the pictures get out, they could come back to haunt the person once they start looking for a job, applying for colleges, or have other background searches performed or something even worse.
“This could be the end of their career,” Franks said. “This could be the end of their ability to go to school or work in peace. It might mean that they might commit suicide, as many victims often have.”
The SAO asked if someone has information about the identity of the person behind the accounts or your photos have appeared online to call local police immediately.