SAN DIEGO — Just days after News 8 helped get a disturbing Instagram page shut down, the creator said he had returned to the social media platform.
The mother, whose son’s picture ended up on the page that was taken down, said she is surprised the user vowed to continue stealing and posting pictures of young boys.
Andrea Van Wagner noticed the user name @ilikestrongkids50 like a picture of her nine-year-old son on her professional Instagram page. She was mortified to find her son and some of his wrestling buddies amidst all the other pictures of young boys.
“It is a little scary that they know who I am and who my son is, and I have no idea who they are,” she said.
News 8 reached out to Instagram to investigate what they do to stop this type of content.
Van Wagner messaged the user after she found him using another account, and on Friday, she received an angry message from him. The user wrote he was not going to stop and that he was not the only one.
“He just messaged back, ‘oh, well. I just made up another account. You cannot stop me. You cannot stop me and there’s so many other people who do the same thing.'”
Van Wagner said she already knew others were doing the same thing, but before being blocked from his account, she scoured the user’s followers and discovered a network of creepy Instagram users using hashtags like #cuteboys and #youngboys to share content.
News 8 reached out to Instagram and a representative said the social media giant does have several measures in place to prevent child exploitative material.
For example, Instagram uses:
- Integrated Photo DNA, a technology that scans all images on Instagram and flags known child exploitative material so it can quickly remove content.
- Uses technology which proactively detects child nudity and previously unknown child exploitative content when it's uploaded. Instagram manually reviews this content, and if it violates their policies they will report it to NCMEC and remove the account in question. NCMEC works with law enforcement agencies around the world to help victims.
Still, with at least some of these accounts seeming to fly under the radar, Van Wagner wishes more could be done.