Streaming service deletes 600k accounts in 60 days amid epidemic of child sexual exploitation
The app, which has been downloaded more than 90 million times, shares the user's location and allows users to search for who is streaming near them. A Fox News affiliate in Los Angeles revealed in May that underage girls who use the service were being regularly solicited by predators to perform sexual acts on camera.
According to the news outlet, one girl was confronted by her mother after police received reports that she had been ordered by predators watching her stream to pull her top up and perform a sexual act on her friend.
Police were alerted to the live stream by a group called Sheepdog Bloodhound, a group of volunteers from around the world who monitor LiveMe in an effort to try to report and prevent child exploitation.
"The child had been online with a friend and inappropriate, showing herself, showing her body, basically doing what the predators had asked her to do," said Paul Irwin, the leader of Sheepdog Bloodhound. "In most cases, shall we say 90 percent, the families have no idea what their youth are doing now."
One girl who spoke with the Fox affiliate explained how the abuse occurs.
"We go live, and we're just bored and we get no comments," the girl said. "But then the predators coming in and enticing them, and then they'll give a gift, and that's when we're like 'oh, you're paying attention to me so I'll do whatever they want me to do and I want those gifts."
The minimum age for using LiveMe is 13, and the company says that it hopes to delete all users under 13 within the next two months. The streaming service is also implementing a safety program staffed by 1,000 volunteers, and it says it is working on improvements to its AI systems, which can help detect and report child exploitation.