FSM publishes statistics on online complaints 2018

The FSM Complaints Office reached a new high in 2018 with 6,733 reports about illegal online content or content harmful to minors. While complaints about depictions of abuse by children and young people fell slightly, there was a sharp increase in complaints about pornography.

In 2018, the FSM's complaints office(www.fsm.de/beschwerdestelle) received 6,733 reports about illegal or online content harmful to minors, more than ever before. Compared to the previous year, this represents an increase of around 20% (2017: 5,614 complaints).

Of the notices received, 1,069 (16%) contained depictions of abuse of children and young people according to the FSM's review (2017: 1,155 complaints). If such content is stored on German servers, the FSM forwards the tips to the Federal Criminal Police Office. For content hosted in Germany (238 cases), a removal rate of 100% was achieved. Two days after the initial report, 80% had already been removed, and after seven days none of the content could be accessed. Of the content hosted abroad, most was on servers in the US (241 cases), followed by the Netherlands (132 cases), Russia (62 cases), and France (45 cases). 77% of content hosted abroad was removed within four weeks of initial notification in 2018. This is a slight improvement compared to 2017 (72% removal rate after four weeks). In the case of content hosted abroad, the removal of virtual depictions of abuse and post depictions of minors poses particular problems. The dissemination of such content is permitted in many countries, unlike in Germany.

The number of reports of pornographic content has increased. With 2,381 authorized cases (35%), these accounted for the largest share overall in 2018 (2017: 1,375 cases, 24%). Most of the content was drawn pornography shared on social networks by users or references to child abuse depictions, but where pornographic content involving adults was found after review by the Complaints Board. Many more cases of depictions allegedly involving the sexual abuse of minors are reported (2018: 2,597 cases) than are confirmed after examination by the FSM (2018: 1,069 cases). In many cases, the age of the persons depicted cannot be clearly determined at first glance, since, for example, children's accessories or clothing are used.

Further evaluations and graphics of the statistics can be found atwww.fsm.de/de/statistik-beschwerdestelle.

More on the subject of complaint bodies

Users can report online content that is harmful to minors and punishable by law to various reporting and complaints offices, so-called hotlines.