The head of the Catholic Church Pope Francis has demanded that Facebook, Apple, Google, Microsoft, and other prominent global tech companies take measures to remove child pornography from the internet. The comments were made during a two-day conference called “Promoting Digital Child Dignity” in the Vatican, where the Pope called upon representatives of social media companies and search engines to assume moral responsibility in protecting young children from easily accessing pornography on the web, the Associated Press reported.
“There is a need to ensure that investors and managers remain accountable, so that the good of minors and society is not sacrificed to profit”, the Pope said during the summit. The meeting also included guest speakers from Apple, Google, Facebook and other tech businesses, as well as world religious leaders.
It's my great pleasure to speak at the International Conference on Promoting Digital Child Dignity in Vatican City. Here, together with global faith leaders, civil society & reps. of large tech companies we seek solutions & actions to make children safe in the digital world. pic.twitter.com/cnoF14ws9P— Howard Taylor (@EndViolenceLead) November 14, 2019
The remarks run contrary to a common belief that social media websites, such as Facebook, are simply platforms for sharing material that monitor online content but do not take responsibility for it.
“It is now clear that they cannot consider themselves completely unaccountable vis-a-vis the services they provide for their customers”, the pontiff said. “So I make an urgent appeal to them to assume their responsibility toward minors, their integrity, and their future”.© AP Photo / Riccardo De Luca
The comments come against the backdrop of a number of sex abuse and child pornography scandals in the Catholic Church. In the wake of the revelations, Vatican economy minister Cardinal George Pell was convicted of multiple offences of child abuse in Australia, while last year former Vatican diplomat Carlo Alberto Capella was sentenced to five years in prison for distributing child pornography.