Periscope and minors

When Periscope was launched in 2015, it looked like the world was going to be more united and uncensored than ever. Major events are being covered faster, and traditional news outlets are quoting Periscope more frequently than ever, especially after the botched coup d’etat in Turkey of last July.

When using Periscope one might have the feeling of having eyes all over the world, the chance to see distant places and distant people, so many different possibilities at the tip of the fingers.

However, there is a dark side of Periscope that is not being tackled by the overburdened Periscope staff. Give a man technology and he will probably use it for sexual reasons, and this sentence is as old as the internet gets, and Periscope is not an exception. While explicit broadcasts will probably get the perpetrator an account ban, there is still a very dangerous gray area that is a danger to minors (and possibly a predators’ paradise). This is the underworld of private broadcasts, where a broadcaster sends his or her transmission to a selected audience. The most common form to gather such audience (often a single person is enough for the broadcaster) is something very similar to what we would call «solicitation». Using certain masked explicit words, or with careful wording to navigate around Periscope’s (very) lenient filters, a broadcaster might easily let the audience know he (female «performers» are very rare, but not unheard of) means business. We are talking about masturbation.

Covered by the veil of a foreign language, this is a very thriving and disturbing reality in Italy. If your feed is tuned to the Italian language, such form of solicitation is extremely common virtually at any time of the day. Sometimes a broadcaster advertise his age, and sometimes we are talking about minors. I am not saying by any means that Periscope is complicit to child pornographers, but sometimes I am not feeling confident this serious situation is being tackled the right way.

I wrote to Periscope in regard to this particular problem, and the answer I received was:

«Thanks for your report, and we’re sorry you had this experience on Periscope.

We will investigate this account and associated broadcasts for violations of the “Periscope Community Guidelines”:

Please keep in mind that you can also block users whose content or comments you no longer want to

see. Learn more “here”:

Thanks for helping us keep our community safe!»

Is the community really safe tough? Sweeping everything under the blocking rug really is the best course of action? How many minors are exposed to inappropriate content? How many unsupervised minors are actually producing inappropriate content? Is Periscope Staff aware of the gravity of the situation, and what steps is taking to make this application safer?

Sorry about any mistake you have encountered in this article, I am not a native english speaker.