What the Tech? Parent group uses Facebook to stop child sex predators
A Facebook Page called "517 Child Predator Exposures" is a group that sets up sting operations to catch suspected sex offenders in the act of meeting with underage boys and girls.
A group of parents in the Lansing, Michigan area are taking the law into their own hands to try and stop sex predators from meeting with children and teens they meet online.
A Facebook Page called "517 Child Predator Exposures" is a group that sets up sting operations to catch suspected sex offenders in the act of meeting with underage boys and girls. The group identifies suspected offenders and engage with them online, posing as someone underage. They report, and post portions of the chat messages where several suspects have engaged with the 'decoy' and set up meetings in person. One suspect suggests to the decoy that they pretend he was raping the young girl in her home when her parents were not home.
Another tells the adult, posing as a teenage girl, that they should meet in a dressing room inside a Sears store for sex.
Each time a suspect sets up a meeting, a member of the group meets them with a smartphone camera rolling and posting as a Facebook Live stream. There are over 7,000 people who've "liked" the page and nearly 8,000 who follow it.
Members of the group behind the page are anonymous, but they make the suspect fully visible by face, name and license plate number. In several Facebook Live streams, the man behind the camera calls the suspect by name. When a suspect denies the actions, the man behind the camera says his name and says he has the full chat text and will provide it to police.
In one video, an older man who thought he was going to meet a 16 year old girl told the member of the group that he "just wanted to meet her."
Their efforts have been met with appreciation from most of the people watching the video though some have questioned whether their actions might impede any police investigation. Group members have said they've had meetings with their local police department with positive results. They also state on the page that they're careful to follow the law and only identify suspects after they do their own investigation to be certain the person they put on Facebook Live is indeed the person who's been engaging with the decoy. The group also states no one underage is involved in the sting operations.
On Wednesday, the page for "517 Child Predator Exposures" was removed from Facebook.
The group I did the story about Tuesday, "517 Child Predator Exposure" has had its Facebook page removed. Facebook notified the group earlier this morning. The group has appealed but the page is unpublished. See some of their posts here in our story. https://t.co/MKnrcicW4Z— Jamey Tucker (@JameyTucker) July 25, 2018
The social media site notified the group on Wednesday morning and has filed an appeal.