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'Sex in Maidstone' Instagram account investigated by police


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The account has now been deleted, police said.

Instagram has been accused of leaving children at risk after it refused to delete an account appearing to target schoolgirls for sex.

The profile, s_x.in.maidstone.u16s, invited teenagers in Years 7 to 10 to privately contact the user.

Charlotte Giles, who reported the profile to the photo-sharing giant, said it was only removed four days later after she had contacted police.

Instagram has not commented directly on the allegations.

The account, which had 35 followers, bore a profile picture featuring aubergine and peach emojis – both commonly used to represent body parts in text conversations.

‘Disturbing’

Ms Giles said she complained but received a “standard response stating that it did not violate [Instagram’s] terms and conditions.”

Worried “children were still at risk”, she contacted Kent Police and the account was deleted.

Ms Giles has now launched a petition calling on the government to introduce legal standards for reporting suspicious social media accounts.

She said “disturbing accounts on social media which impact young children need to be investigated and removed with immediate effect”.

Kent Police said it was contacted on 15 November “due to concern about an Instagram account reported to be aimed at girls aged under 16”.

“Officers from the Paedophile Online Investigation Team are carrying out enquiries to identify who created the account, which has since been deleted,” it said.

Instagram says it does not allow child exploitation or grooming on its popular app, and has developed tools to combat such content.

It said it proactively searches for and reports grooming activity, and all uploaded images are scanned automatically.

The firm also encouraged the use of in-app tools to report accounts or content that violates guidelines.



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