British newspaper The Sun has published an exposé article on the apparent trend of grooming on chatroom website Snog. The investigation came after owner Gareth Hughes was jailed for more than six years for grooming a 14 year-old girl he’d met on his platform.
Reporter Brittany Vonow created a profile on Snog using a picture of herself that was taken when she was 15. In every resulting conversation, she was sure to make it clear that she was underage.
She was told by one man that he wanted to “see dirty pics” of her, and another expressed his disappointment that he wasn’t able to date her.
Although the terms and conditions were recently changed to increase the minimum age from 13 to 18, there are no verification steps. It is reportedly very easy for young teenagers to lie and get through the barriers.
James walker, the current owner of Snog, told The Mirror: “Unfortunately, no website is foolproof when it comes to age verification as you have rightly proved by signing up to Facebook with the same information as your Snog account.”
“We allow users to keep their messages private by encrypting them but we are looking to make messages reportable.”
Users can also choose to sign up with an email address rather than a Facebook account.
At one stage Vonow had her account suspended after moderators saw that she described herself as 15 in her bio. However, she was able to sign up with a different email address instantly.
Read more here.