Warrants issued vs. Facebook, YouTube to disclose info on online account promoting child exploitation, sexual abuse

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, August 30) — The Philippine National Police (PNP) was granted two warrants ordering Facebook and YouTube to submit information on an online account which promotes the exploitation and sexual abuse of minors.

Manila Regional Trial Court Branch 24 issued the warrants on Tuesday against Meta Platforms, Inc. and Google LLC, the companies that own the social media giants, and ordered them to "disclose or submit within seventy-two hours relevant data in its possession or control" of Usapang Diskarte.

According to the PNP's Anti-Cybercrime Group (ACG), Women and Children Cybercrime Protection Unit (WCCPU), the account — which has over 250,000 followers — was "created and uploaded with contents promoting sexual abuse and exploitation of children."

Authorities added that among the information shared on the accounts were instructions on how to lure minors into having sexual relations with older men and condition their minds into believing it is normal.

The WCCPU requested that data of the said accounts be preserved so it could be used to file a case against the content uploader.

"Following the request for the 'Preservation of Data' three weeks ago, the PNP-ACG-WCCPU applied for the WDCD (warrants to disclose computer data) against the two social media giants for release of the data about the subscriber's information to aid them in identifying the person/s behind the 'Usapang Diskarte' accounts for the subsequent filing of appropriate charges," said the PNP, adding that since both companies are based in the US, it would need further efforts to get the information needed.

The warrants have been endorsed to the Department of Justice Office on Cybercrime for implementation.

PLtCol Irene Cena, chief of the WCCPU, said they would wait for the information on Usapang Diskarte.

"After we forward this, we will wait for the data to be transmitted to us. This can include thousands of images, information on the account owner as well as their subscribers, chat logs and other information. We expect this investigation to be heavy," she said.

PBGen Joel Doria, acting director of the PNP-CDG, meanwhile, encourages others who may have information on Usapang Diskarte to coordinate with authorities.

"I encourage people who may have information about 'Usapang Diskarte' and people who felt they were abused by the viral post to come forward and come to us. We are here to help you," he said.