Recent changes in legislation, specifically SESTA-FOSTA, have changed how sites with user generated content (UGC) are required to monitor content. Previously UGC sites were protected by safe-harbor laws which limited their liability if a site was unknowingly hosting content that promoted human or sex trafficking. Post SESTA-FOSTA a site can be liable for aiding a sex or human trafficker if the site was used to facilitate such a transaction even if the site was not encouraging, or even aware of the behavior.
Recognant.com‘s AI automates monitoring of content, and checks content even if it is “coded” to avoid moderation. Further, Recognant uses context to determine if content violates policies rather than keywords, so there is significantly fewer false positives, and users don’t need to feel their speech is limited.
Unlike the “Herbal Viagra” spam that has plagued site operators for years that is mostly just annoying, human trafficking is a serious problem, and now comes with serious liability.
Monitoring: $300/Month*Enter your domain or subdomain. If and your first report will be sent in 72 hours. Ongoing reports will be send as new items are detected, and a monthly report will be sent even if no new items are discovered.
What is SESTA-FOSTA?
H.R. 1865, the Allow States and Victims to Fight Online Sex Trafficking Act (FOSTA), which includes an amendment added in the House to incorporate provisions of S. 1693, the Stop Enabling Sex Traffickers Act (SESTA), is bipartisan legislation that radically changes how sites which enable User Generated Content (UGC) are required to monitor content.
Doesn’t 47 U.S.C. § 230 of the Communications Decency Act gave me Safe Harbor?Previously, UGC sites were protected under safe harbor provisions which limited their liability with regard to content which promoted illegal goods or services. Now sites will need to monitor and remove content which could be promoting human or sex trafficking.
Can’t I just block some keywords like, “sex” and “escort,” and have this not be a problem?
While this seems straight forward many of the posts which promote sex and human trafficking are not written in plain English. There are more than 10,000 euphemisms that we check for when evaluating if a post is an offer for sexual services and nearly twice that for posts offering to sell a human slave.
Our monitoring will often catch things that a human not “in the know” would miss. Because we monitor tens of thousands of sites we pick up on code that is designed to slip past moderators. Things that under the new rules of SESTA-FOSTA could leave a site in legal hot water.
How do you (Recognant) know what to look for?
Even before SESTA-FOSTA, Recognant was dedicated to finding Human and Sex Trafficking ads and monitored many of the largest sites, and shared data with law enforcement to aid in the rescue of multiple victims of human trafficking.
With the changes in the rules we are now offering these services to forums, online, classified, and UGC sites.
What do the reports you generate look like?
When we detect suspect activity we will email you with a link to the comment or post that we think is problematic. You can then moderate it or ignore. Once a month we will send a report telling you how many posts we monitored, and re-report any of the suspect content.
Do I really need your service?
Yes. The challenge is that you may be aiding a human trafficker and not know it. We have seen human traffickers run ads that looked like they were for a used car, or that looked liked ads for a floral shop. Many of the ads use an imaginary keyword to enable the ad to be found and then use code to cover their true meaning. If you are diligent about spam and only have comments, you may be safe, but if you aren’t good about checking spam comments, or allow your visitors to list items for sale or events, you certainly need a service, and to our knowledge we are the only service that offers this specific offering.
The FBI recently shutdown Backpage.com and raided the CEO’s home. The age of the internet being the wild west, and safe harbor provisions preventing site owners from activity that happens on their site is over.