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Statement - IWF's work with industry and social networks

The IWF receives reports from the public and proactively searches for child sexual abuse images and videos on the internet. When we find known criminal images and videos we work closely with the internet industry to have them removed as quickly as possible. We also provide internet companies with a range of technical services to disrupt the distribution of this appalling material as every single image or video is of a real child being sexually abused.

We act on material that is criminal and fails UK law. Typically, this will be of children aged 10 and under. Even the lowest level images will involve serious sexual abuse.

We have 130 members who work closely with us and these include social media companies. We have been working with Facebook since 2009 and most recently they participated in a pilot programme to create and implement The IWF Image Hash List. This is a list of digital fingerprints of known images of child sexual abuse which they can deploy across their service to ensure that any duplicate images are not uploaded in the first place. 

In 2016 less than 1% of the criminal images and videos actioned by the IWF were on social media platforms.

IWF CEO, Susie Hargreaves, OBE said:

“We are never complacent, the reality is that new images and videos of children being sexually abused appear every day and this is why industry, government, law enforcement and the IWF all work in partnership to do whatever we can to remove these images and give these children back some of the childhood that has been stolen from them. “



Notes to editors:


Emma Hardy, Director of External Relations +44 (0) 1223 203030 or +44 (0) 7929 553679.

What we do:

We make the internet a safer place. We help victims of child sexual abuse worldwide by identifying and removing online images and videos of their abuse. We search for child sexual abuse images and videos and offer a place for the public to report them anonymously. We then have them removed. We’re a not for profit organisation and are supported by the global internet industry and the European Commission.

For more information please visit

The IWF is part of the UK Safer Internet Centre, working with Childnet International and the South West Grid for Learning to promote the safe and responsible use of technology.

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