Thorn — Using Social Media in Effort to Eradicate Child Sex Trafficking
There are currently 3.6 billion people in the world who use some form of social media. When it comes to sharing a message in hopes to educate the masses, organizations and individuals are finding the best way to do it is to meet the people where they are at. In 2012, Ashton Kutcher and Demi Moore co-founded the organization Thorn, which aims to eradicate global child sex trafficking online. Thorn develops tools and resources available to law enforcement, companies, and organizations to identify online child exploitation. In the same year that it was founded, the organization also launched a product called Safer, which identifies and removes child sexual abuse material (CSAM) from online platforms to create a safer online environment for children.
In 2018, Thorn reported that more than 9,000 law enforcement officers are using its products in 38 countries, along with more than 44 million pieces of CSAM reported to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. Thorn has taken a treat and prevent approach to rid the internet of CSAM through its innovative technology while also educating the masses on how to avoid it in the first place. This in all is to prevent youth and children from being targeted by sexual predators online and to prevent the spread of damaging content across the internet.
Currently, the organization has a social media presence across Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and YouTube, where they share information about their technology and educate on CSAM. Additionally, through creative, Gen-Z-focused campaigns, Thorn hopes to educate youth and parents about ways to identify and combat the exchange and spread of CSAM. For example, one campaign called #NoFiltr is a YouTube / TikTok series that brings teens and parents together to ask questions concerning sending nudes and how to identify when they are possibly being taken advantage of on the internet. The campaign has a following of 280k on TikTok and almost 7k on Instagram, where they are repurposing video content between TikTok and Instagram Reels to reach wider audiences. Other content includes statistics, links, and resources to help youth and parents navigate the internet.
Thorn itself has a following of 46.3k on Instagram, which is used to raise donations and educate about their technologies. However, I noticed room for improvement on TikTok when it came to its campaign on the Gen-Z-focused strategies. The #NoFiltr campaign does not currently use trending sounds or jump on trends to further spread awareness of their efforts and engage the community. Additionally, the #NoFiltr campaign could partner with TikTok inflencers to further reach and engagement and a better following.
Overall, I think Thorn did a great job in creating digital campaigns that targeted youth, parents, and industries that could benefit from their technology, education, and resources. Equipping each of their campaigns with a social media presence and targeting Gen-Z through TikTok, the organization utilized different social media platforms to spread awareness of their efforts and create a safer environment for teens on the internet.
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