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The Huge Safety Challenge Social Discovery Has On Its Hands

Yubo is a social friend-finding app targeted at young people that is particularly popular and successful in France, the company’s home country. You don’t have to look far for evidence of Yubo taking its position as the prominent app for young people seriously. It’s a company that clearly does. Security measures and safety are quite rightly high-up on the company’s priority list. Unfortunately – with success, comes a lot of attention – and one survey carried out by Vakita, an independent media publication, showed that the app is a place that bad actors did and do try to operate. 

Vakita found evidence of paedophilic activity, that phished and scammed young girls in particular into sending sexually explicit content, that was then being sold on other encrypted platforms to criminals. Sharone Franco, Director of Public Affairs at Yubo said:

“We are deeply shocked by the predatory behavior pointed out by Vakita. For more than a year, following reports from Yubo users, our teams have been conducting an internal investigation into the distribution of illegal content on encrypted messaging platforms. These investigations made it possible to permanently ban the users involved from our platform, and to report to the police authorities as well as to the platforms concerned. Through this work, we continue to proactively identify and report to law enforcement affected users and corresponding groups.”

It shows the huge mammoth task that social discovery apps have to protect their user base. With success, comes the attraction of the right, but also the wrong sort to the platform. Yubo has put security at the forefront of its app – and has been implementing measures to improve safety for minors. For example – there are platform-wide age-verification requirements, real-time monitoring of audio in livestreams, and enhanced capabilities for user-reporting of inappropriate content. The company has been working with the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) since 2018 and this year supported the launch of the ‘Take It Down’ campaign that is helping combat inappropriate content on the site and across the web.

Particularly platforms and apps that focus on friend-finding for young people, have a huge challenge on their hands. Bad actors will always try to exploit people where they can. Tackling that is going to be a never ending battle for such platforms, so innovation and vigilance is required. This unfortunate incident is another reminder of that.

Social Discovery Insights is part of the Industry Insights Group. Registered in the UK. Company No: 14395769