"Twelve Year Old Slut Meme" Facebook Page May Be Illegal

The page, started by two Australian men to mock underage girls, may violate Australian law. posted on

The administrators of “12 year old slut meme’s,” [sic] a Facebook page devoted to posting pictures of young girls and calling them “sluts,” have been unrepentant in the face of criticism — their page reads, “Your complaints will be answered with insults.” But a complaint to an Australian regulatory agency (the page admins appear to be Australian) may lead to something more serious.

A reader who asked to remain anonymous reported “12 year old slut meme’s” to the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) in late September. According to a memo he forwarded to BuzzFeed Shift, the authority responded that the page was “potential prohibited content” and that it had “referred the content to the appropriate law enforcement agency.” The ACMA has not responded to our request for comment, but Australian law empowers the organization to identify illegal or potentially illegal content online — prohibited content includes all child porn, and “implied sexual activity” on sites accessible by children. If the content is “of a sufficiently serious nature,” the ACMA is supposed to notify the police. Penalties include fines of up to $11,000 a day.

Since Facebook is based in the US, not Australia, the ACMA can’t force it to take “12 year old slut meme’s” down. But it can add the page to a blacklist available to all Australian internet service providers, who can then choose to keep their users from seeing the page. It’s not clear if it could fine the two 19-year-old Australian men who list themselves as administrators of the page (the fines appear usually to apply to service providers, not individual posters), but the ACMA’s response indicates that at the very least it’s getting law enforcement involved.

Facebook has said it won’t take down “12 year old slut meme’s,” but the administrators may be tiring of their project. On October 11, they wrote, “Our intent in building this Facebook page was to bring to light the fact that many young girls under the age of consent are sexualising themselves in provocative photographs that they themselves post on their own Facebook pages to be seen by the world.Yes, we may have used language and content (publicly available content) that shocked many, that being said though; we did at least bring widespread attention to the issue.” Now, they continue, “We would like to close the page with immediate effect … but Facebook have taken away our capacity to do so. Over to you Facebook.” They close their note with a promise (or threat): “we’re moving on to uncover other ‘problems in society’. Watch this space.”

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