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August 23, 2017

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Facebook to probe indecent ads in Taiwan: CIB

TAIPEI--Taiwan's Criminal Investigation Bureau said Facebook promised to take steps to keep indecent advertisements from appearing on its web pages in Taiwan after the bureau raised the issue with the social networking site, an official said yesterday.

Chuang Ming-hsiung, a section chief at the bureau's High-Technology Crime Prevention Center, said at a news conference that the center approached Facebook's legal affairs office in the United States over the issue after receiving complaints about the ads.

An initial investigation found that the offensive images were provided by a Hong Kong-based online games company, Chuang said. Because both Taiwan and Hong Kong use traditional Chinese characters, the images were visible on local Facebook pages, he added.

According to Chuang, Facebook's legal office is trying to determine whether the images violate U.S. laws that bar the publication of pornographic images on Internet websites accessible to children or adolescents.

"If those images violate U.S. law, Facebook will remove the ads," Chuang said, adding that the company also promised to take steps to ensure that the images are only accessible to Hong Kong Facebook users if they are not in violation of U.S. law.

Speaking on the same occasion, Kang Shu-hua, chief executive of the Taipei Women's Rescue Foundation, said nearly 12 million people in Taiwan have opened Facebook accounts, with 1.6 million users, or 13.7 percent of the total, aged between 13 and 17.

Regrettably, Kang said, the foundation has recently found that Facebook banners carry sleazy ads that allow users to interact with provocative images of women featured in the ads.

While Taiwan has an Internet rating and classification system in place, the government does not seem to have made enough efforts to protect local youngsters from the onslaught of pornographic ads, Kang said.

Wu Fu-pin, president of the National Alliance of Parents Organization, echoed Kang's call, saying the government should take the initiative to control the invasion of indecent ads on social networking websites.

Hsu Chih-lin, a National Communications Commission official, said his agency has maintained a one-stop window that accepts public complaints about Internet content and refers them to the proper agencies for resolution.

He further said the Industrial Development Bureau is drafting regulations to properly manage online game software in accordance with the newly revised Children and Youth Welfare Act.

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