Following Kegan Kline disclosures, predators continue to utilize Snapchat to claim victims

Following the release in March of a police interview transcript obtained by The Murder Sheet podcast that revealed Kegan Kline of Peru, Indiana, allegedly utilized the social media platform Snapchat to obtain sexually explicit photos of underage girls, multiple offenders in the intervening months have been convicted in Indiana of using Snapchat and Facebook to prey upon underage victims.  

According to WTHR, Kegan Kline currently sits in jail facing 30 charges involving child pornography and child exploitation after admitting “to creating the social media profile ‘anthony_shots’ to meet underage girls and receive sexually explicit photos.”  Kline is also alleged to have been one of the last to communicate with Liberty German prior to her murder on February 13, 2017.

Since these revelations, multiple offenders have been prosecuted and convicted in Indiana for soliciting sexual abuse material from underage victims.  However, even more disturbing, some offenders have used these platforms to meet with victims for the purpose of committing acts of abuse.  According to a May 5, 2022 Department of Justice, Southern District of Indiana press release:

“Gerald Hoye, 43, of Indianapolis, was sentenced to 30 years in federal prison following his guilty plea to sexual exploitation of a child.

“According to court documents, agents with the U.S. Secret Service (USSS) received information from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) that sexually explicit images of a child had been sent from a child’s Facebook account to an adult’s Facebook account. Further information received from NCMEC showed sexually explicit conversations were taking place through Facebook Messenger between the child and the adult.

“Law enforcement officers determined the adult was Hoye, a then-41-year-old truck driver living in Indianapolis. The child victim lived in another state and was under 16 years old. Hoye coerced and manipulated the child by offering her money in exchange for sexually explicit photos and videos. In September of 2019, Hoye traveled to the victim’s home and transported her to another state, where he engaged in illegal sexual conduct with the child.”

For all its sophisticated algorithms, Facebook relies on the NCMEC to detect and identify the exploitation of a child over its own messaging app.  These interactions escalated to the point where “Hoye traveled to the victim’s home and transported her to another state, where he engaged in illegal sexual conduct with the child.”  That is extremely terrifying.  How is it the case that Facebook can detect alleged misinformation on its platform and shut that down, but is apparently clueless when a felony is taking place?    

Around the time the public was learning of Kegan Kline’s horrific exploits, another man was convicted in the Southern District of Indiana for committing similar offenses via Snapchat.  According to a March 17, 2022 DOJ press release: 

“Matthew O. Walker, 28, of Augusta, Georgia, was sentenced to 30 years in federal prison after pleading guilty to the sexual exploitation of a child.

“According to court documents, Walker sexually exploited 3 Indiana children and 2 children from South Carolina. Walker first came to the attention of federal authorities in the fall of 2019, when Walker had engaged in sexually explicit Snapchat communications with two minor boys in the Southern District of Indiana. Walker misrepresented himself on Snapchat as a teenage girl, persuading minors to create and send him images and videos of themselves engaging in sexually explicit conduct. Walker threatened the minors that he would distribute these images and videos of these minors to their respective families if they did not do as he instructed.

“Federal investigators discovered that Walker was living in Georgia. With assistance from law enforcement there, a search warrant was executed at Walker’s residence. Evidence was seized and Walker admitted to communication with multiple underage boys online. Walker also admitted to receiving child sexual abuse material through Snapchat and other social media platforms. Walker pled guilty to sexual exploitation of a child in a plea that incorporated his criminal conduct against three Indiana children and others.”

Snapchat was also the social media platform of choice for a Bartholomew County, Indiana man who pled guilty to sexually exploiting children in Indiana and California and received over 27 years in federal prison.  According to a February 18, 2022 DOJ press release:

“According to court documents, Jordan Fields, 21, of Columbus, Indiana, sexually exploited children in Indiana and California, and admitted to other acts of exploitation against unknown minors. Fields first came to the attention of federal authorities in the fall of 2020, when law enforcement in California notified authorities in Indiana that Fields had engaged in sexually explicit Snapchat communications with a 13-year-old boy in California.

“The Bartholomew County Sheriff’s Office began an investigation and executed a search warrant at Fields’ home on Nov. 13, 2020. Fields was initially arrested on state charges of child solicitation and possession of child pornography. A team from the Indiana State Police, the Bartholomew County Sheriff’s Office, and the FBI reviewed evidence seized from Fields’ home, and Fields was arrested on federal sexual exploitation charges in March of 2021. 

“Fields admitted to communication with multiple underage boys online and admitted to receiving child sexual abuse material through Snapchat and Omegle. Fields pled guilty to three counts of sexual exploitation of a child for his victimization of three southern Indiana children.”

Another Indianapolis man was convicted in May after it was discovered that he had used Facebook to sexually exploit a child.  Per the Department of Justice:

“Ryan Niendorf, 39, of Indianapolis, was sentenced to 30 years in federal prison following his guilty plea to sexual exploitation of a child and attempted sexual exploitation of a child.

“According to court documents, in May 2021, agents with the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) received information from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) that an adult’s Facebook account had been used to engage in sexually explicit communication with a child’s Facebook account. Law enforcement officers determined the adult was Niendorf, a semi-truck driver living in Indianapolis, and police were able to locate the child. Based on forensic evidence found in Niendorf’s account, police arrested Niendorf. Further investigation showed Niendorf persuaded two minors, both less than 16 years of age, to produce sexually explicit videos.”

Based on the information that has surfaced regarding the activities of Kegan Kline aka anthony-shots on the social media platform Snapchat, it is disturbing to see so many additional cases where Snapchat and Facebook were used to intimidate and exploit children, obtain child sexual abuse material, and to even facilitate meetings for the purposes of committing acts of abuse against children.  The preceding cases represent just a few of the convictions obtained within the past few months and are limited to the Southern District of Indiana jurisdiction.  There are other Indiana cases where the internet and/or social media was involved, but specific platforms were not named in the press releases.  Obviously, if one were to expand out to a wider time frame, or to include other jurisdictions than just one in Indiana, the scope of the horror would increase significantly. 

One would hope that eliminating this type of predatory behavior would be a top priority of these social media companies.  But here we are, five years removed from the murders of Abigail Williams and Liberty German, and Snapchat and Facebook continue to be platforms where predators go to victimize children.  We may one day learn that Liberty’s Snapchat activity played no role in the Delphi homicides, but the Kegan Kline interview illustrates in disturbing clarity how vulnerable children are to abuse on these platforms.  While the NCMEC is to be commended for their efforts to monitor these platforms and expose child predators, why aren’t the tech companies themselves doing more to clean up these spaces?

Facebook faces outrage over amplifying outrage

Social media giant Facebook faced fresh allegations Monday that its angry algorithms amplified outrage over agreeability.  These revelations are among the latest to emerge out of the Facebook Papers, a trove of internal company documents made public by the Facebook Whistleblower.  

Oddly, the tech giant has responded by using this new round of allegations to condition its algorithm into promoting even more anger and hostility, creating a seemingly infinite vortex of outrage.  “When the world’s throwing a hissy fit, we’re down in the basement printing money,” joked Facebook communications official Tucker Bounds in an internal email.

According to the Washington Post, Facebook engineers gave more points to news stories that elicited an angry response over ones that garnered a ‘like’ by a five to one margin.  This ranking system prompted the company’s cranky old algorithm to promote stories that incited anger over all the feel good, human interest stories the media churns out everyday. 

“In turn, this has caused the world to become engulfed in flames,” said Sen. Amy Klobuchar, chair of the Senate Judiciary antitrust subcommittee at a hearing Monday.  “There’s a lot to discover in these papers about how the platform promotes extremism and hurts our communities, but here’s what is clear: Facebook knew.”

Another revelation in the Facebook Papers exposes efforts early on to build an algorithm for promoting and disseminating information on the platform.  

“They basically sent teams of researchers out to coffee shops to observe what types of news stories got cranky, old retired dudes all riled up,” internal memos revealed.  “They built the algorithm based on what they discovered conducting these ‘field expeditions.’”   

Facebook is facing intense pressure from congress and media outlets regarding why they would knowingly choose to promote outrage over sensible, mild-mannered discussions of the day’s top stories.  

“We’re just flabbergasted that Facebook would intentionally encourage outrage just for clicks and shares,” said Brian Stelter, host of CNN’s Reliable Sources.  “At least when we in the traditional media promote hysteria over measured conversations, it’s because we don’t have a clue what we’re doing.  Facebook knew exactly what they were doing.”

Olympic Facebook ads capture the thrill of Facebooking

If you’ve tuned in to the Olympics in recent days, you’ve probably noticed those inspiring commercials of Facebookers performing daring feats of Facebooking.  The thrilling images of Facebookers tirelessly honing their craft have sent untold numbers of viewers flocking to the social media site to discover how they might become a part of this movement spanning the globe.

“Well, when you see what some of these elite level Facebookers are capable of, you’re just like, ‘Wow!  How do they do that?’” said Jim McKay, Director of Television Advertising for the company.  “We’re out to capture that TV viewing couch potato who’s been too lazy to try out our platform, and we think wowing them with a bit of the old razzle-dazzle is the way to get them to come onboard.” 

Indeed, the Facebookers featured in these ads make it look effortless, but often years of hard work and tireless striving for perfection have gone into achieving that level of excellence.  

“Most people don’t realize these Facebookers fail more often than they succeed.  But when they do finally get it right, it’s like poetry or beautiful music.  That’s what a Facebook legend looks like,” said McKay.  “It’s the thrill of likes and shares and the agony of getting dogpiled.  It all comes through in these commercials, and we think it’s a sure bet to lure people away from the boob-tube, out of the sweaty gyms and bug infested parks and into Facebooking where the world belongs.”

Thanks to Facebook, skaters now able to connect with one another and hang out

The life of a skater was a lonely one until recent years.  The typical skater was a solitary figure haunting the skate park or aimlessly gliding down a city street looking for someone, anyone to burn a doobie with.  It seemed like no one cared, like no one shared their interest.  In the old days, the discovery of an abandoned pool was like striking gold, except there was no way to communicate the find to other like-minded skaters.  Thus the solitary punk usually just hung out by his or herself, mastering tricks, drinking beer and listening to Black Flag all alone.  Some skaters built half-pipes, but the problem of how to discover others who might also wish to hone their vertical skills persisted.  It seemed like the idea of building a community around skateboarding was a fleeting pipe dream, like that elusive perfect move that never seems to come together.  Then came Facebook extending a hand up after you’ve taken a nasty spill.  They want to help skaters pursue their dreams, like a cool dad who built you a half-pipe, only they’re like this creepy stranger who just wants to get to know everything about you.  They’re the friendly dude at the park who just wants to introduce you to all these other friendly folks they think you’ll like.  Now, thanks to Facebook, that lonely skater soaring high above the scorching concrete while Suicidal Tendencies blasts in the background has finally found a friend and somebody to burn that doobie with.

AP reports Americans expoiting loophole in social moderation: interpersonal communication

The Associated Press is reporting today that millions of Americans are utilizing interpersonal communication as a means to bypass social moderation.  According to the AP, a disturbing number of Americans are using casual conversation and word of mouth networking to evade tech moderation, potentially spreading voluminous misinformation and dangerous conspiracy theories. 

Pressed to explain what big tech is doing about the problem of interpersonal communication, companies like Apple, Google, Facebook and Twitter assured the AP they’re taking the issue very seriously.

“We are aware that there are a number of people who talk with one another on a daily basis who are not subject to any content moderation.  They are purposely bypassing all social media to chit chat, make plans, and devise their little schemes, all done out of earshot of our content moderators,” explained Yuri Testicov, Senior Director of Content Compliance for Google.    

“Typically, they gather in bars, coffee houses, parks, sometimes even in each other’s homes.  In these settings, they’re virtually free to discuss just about any subject they can think of and express any opinion,” said Testicov.

“Various methods of censorship are on the table.” the AP reported.  “Requiring cafes, bars, and restaurant owners to employ social moderators to monitor communications at their establishments may be one path forward.  Additionally, utilizing Alexas, Dots, smart televisions, and potentially even one’s own smartphone, connected to AI social content moderators, should be looked at very seriously.”

The question of how to get all the nation’s small business owners to comply could prove to be a sticking point.

“Your lack of creativity and imagination puzzles me,” Testicov told the AP.  “Do you not see how simple it would be for tech companies to enforce compliance.  If any of these establishments has a presence on the web – gone.  If they transact electronically by any means – gone.  If they purchase supplies electronically, if they have a bank account – gone.  If they wish to continue doing business, they will comply.  In this sense, it is easier for tech companies to enforce compliance than it would be for government bodies to pass and enforce laws and ordinances.”  

Persecuted by pro-censorship groups back in the eighties, the rapper Ice-T once warned, “Freedom of speech.  Just watch what you say.”  It seems the legacy media and big tech fail to grasp the irony and wholly endorse that sentiment.

Gertrude the Pig hacks back

Perhaps we underestimate pig cognition.  Mere days after Elon Musk’s much ballyhooed Neuralink demonstration, Gertrude the Pig may be having her revenge on human society.

Gertrude the Pig was introduced to the world a few weeks ago as one of the first subjects to have a Neuralink computer chip wired into its brain.  Witnesses to the demonstration were able to see Gertrude’s neural activity as she snuffed around and touched things with her snout.

Since the demonstration, however, it appears that computer to pig brain hacking may not be a one-way street.    

While not yet noticeable to the casual user, data from Google Analytics shows pig content across the internet has increased as much as eleven percent.  

“In a normal year, we might expect to see a half to a two percent rise in pig content,” said Igor Testicov, Senior Applications Developer at Google.  “An eleven percent jump is certainly something to take notice of.”

Researchers want to know what could be fueling this dramatic rise in swine related content.  Is it possible Gertrude the Pig is hacking back?    

The Justice Department thinks so.  Said one FBI official, “We’re seeing pig bot accounts pop up all over Facebook promoting anything from veganism to turkey bacon.  We were able to trace many of these fake accounts back to Russian troll farms.  The question is who is hiring the Russians to produce this content?”

If Gertrude knows, she isn’t talking.  Her handlers say they’ve noticed no change in Gertrude’s daily activities.  

Still, though, experts are at a loss to explain the strange disruptions to financial markets.  “Something is influencing the commodities markets,” said one trader.  “Hog futures are trading at an all-time low.  Currently, there is some big money out there shorting pork bellies.”  

“We really have no idea what we’re tapping into here,” warned Testicov.  “We may rue the day we linked pigs to powerful computing technology.  Once you let the pig out of the pen, it’s not so easily put back.”

‘Word-salad’ deciphering algorithm expected in time for Trump/Biden debates

Competing teams of programmers at Google and Facebook have been working furiously in recent months to develop an algorithm capable of deciphering, in real time, the seemingly random jumbles of words that flow from the mouths of Donald Trump and Joe Biden. 

With the election just months away, the stakes are high as Americans have a short attention span for meandering nostalgic musings and barely comprehensible babble.  Network producers are hoping to unveil the new technology at upcoming debates so the candidates’ responses to debate questions can be interpreted and transmitted to viewers in real time.

“Currently, the process of arriving at an answer to the question, ‘What the hell did he just say?’ involves dozens of journalists and commentators breaking down the candidate’s most confusing utterances and speculating for days, even weeks, about what the candidate may have meant.  The process often involves mining past statements, pointing to the candidate’s record, or pulling from their personal history to provide even the faintest glimmer of clarity,” said MSNBC producer Cheryl Woodhouse.

Anders Gerital, head of senior special projects at Google expects the new technology to do away with all the needless speculation and guesswork.  “Utilizing advanced algorithms, the work of hundreds of humans can be done instantaneously.  Debate viewers will know in real time what the candidates are trying to say, even if the candidates don’t know themselves.  The algorithm has access to the entire body of each candidate’s public pronouncements as well as all available private correspondence and decision-making.  It will rely heavily on communications from a time when each candidate was much more lucid than they are currently.  The technology will be able to literally start and finish their sentences.”

The project aims to eventually create digital copies to be utilized in case the commander-in-chief becomes incapacitated, or to assist the president in carrying out his ceremonial duties.   

“We’re already 85% complete toward having each man’s consciousness digitally downloaded,” added one Facebook developer.  “It’s actually remarkable how little server space each man’s brain occupies.  You could literally carry Donald Trump around on a thumb drive.”

That’s reassuring to campaign staff.  However, most of their communication team are just delighted they will no longer have to go on Twitter or cable news and clean up after one of their bosses’ word-salad explosions.

“Half the time I feel like a clown with a pooper-scooper, following my boss around and cleaning up after he shits out yet another load of nonsense,” said one Biden staffer.

Local man currently starring in three hit viral videos

With the traditional summer blockbuster movie season canceled due to the pandemic, and Hollywood royalty wallowing in depression and loneliness caused by a deficit of public attention, viral videos are emerging from every corner of the internet to fill the void.

No one is working harder to fill this vacuum than Cameron James, who is currently starring in three of social media’s hottest viral video sensations.

He first captured the public’s attention on Facebook with his role as drunk guy trying to ride a bike.  Some passers-by filmed Cameron trying and failing to mount his bicycle after exiting a bar.

“I was so loaded I couldn’t tell up from down,” said James.  “Operating a bicycle required me to engage in a duel with physics that I was in no condition to undertake.  Time and again, I attempted to saddle up and ride only to fall flat on my face.”

Fortunately, a number of bar patrons were able to catch the entire debacle on video.  One social media user even managed to edit together a Matrix style montage of Cameron’s combat with the forces of gravity and bicycle engineering.

“The video quickly blew up on Facebook, and I soon discovered I was being mocked and ridiculed on almost every social media platform.  I gotta say, it felt pretty awesome.”

A few days later, Cameron was filmed berating the staff of a fast food restaurant in his neighborhood.

“They messed up my order pretty bad, so I started to chew out the cashier.  However, once the other patrons took out their phones and began shooting, I felt a rage flow from a place inside me I didn’t even know existed.  It really felt like I was channeling Pacino.  Anyway, after it was over, even the restaurant staff remarked that my irate customer portrayal was one of the best they’d ever seen.”

In addition to catching fire on the internet, several critics praised the intensity of Cameron’s performance, and he’s expected to be nominated for a Karen Award in the category of Best Unhinged Restaurant Patron.

Rounding out a week that saw Cameron James skyrocket to social media superstardom, the young man was publicly shamed and driven out of a supermarket for not wearing a mask.  Several shoppers took video of the incident as Cameron ditched his cart and fled the store in panic.  Shoppers heaped abuse on Cameron and hurled grocery items at him.  On Twitter, the whole scene invited comparisons to Cersei’s walk of atonement in Game of Thrones.

With three blockbuster viral videos in quick succession, fans are wondering if the young star can top an already impressive body of work that has brought him so much attention and fame, or will his star dim and James fade back into obscurity.

“To be the focus of so much negative media and public attention has really been a dream come true.  If I never make another hit viral video, I can live with that.  Who knows, maybe that’s my next role.  Down and out viral video star attempts a comeback, engaging in myriad forms of awful behavior in an attempt to get back in the public’s bad graces.”  

Pelosi deputy chief of staff astonished at video editing technology

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s deputy chief of staff Drew Hammill expressed his amazement Friday over a video making the rounds on Facebook showing President Trump delivering the State of the Union address interspersed with images of Pelosi ripping up the speech. 

“What these clever young fellows have done is take the entire State of the Union speech, extract a few short video clips, and then somehow piece them back together again, thereby creating a condensed version with only the most noteworthy parts.  I’m at a loss for words,” said Hammill in a statement directed at the popular social networking sites Facebook and Twitter.

“But get this,” Hammill continued, “these ingenious lads pieced it together in such a way that turns the dramatic moment of Pelosi ripping up the speech against her.  How clever is that?”   

Hammill could barely contain his disbelief.  “What is this foul magic they harness to rearrange video and reassemble it for their own nefarious purposes?  Whatever it is, the Democrats need to get their hands on it. Think of the possibilities. We could snip short clips of some of President Trump’s most outrageous and deplorable moments and reassemble them into a montage of disgrace and disrepute.  This could be a political game-changer. No longer would the viewer have to sit through hours and hours of tape just to get to the juicy bits. We could turn the president’s words against him. I am really going to have to work on this,” Hammill concluded.

Air Force to treat Storm Area 51 visitors to dazzling air show

If you’re one of the 1.3 million to RSVP the Storm Area 51 Facebook event planned for this September, the Air Force would like you to know they have some special surprises in store.  A first of its kind air show awaits all visitors who “access the area,” according to an Air Force spokesperson.

“The Air Force has planned a truly interactive experience for anyone trying to come into the area where we train American armed forces,” says Laura McAndrews, spokesperson for the United States Air Force.  “A dazzling array of military hardware will engulf the visitor with sound and fury, and members of our own armed forces will be on hand to make sure your visit to Area 51 is truly memorable.”

“Come, experience the thrill of being strafed by one of our supersonic fighter jets, or take a wild ride in a military transport vehicle.  Bring the whole family as you experience the ‘shock and awe’ of an Air Force fireworks display igniting the desert sky into a hellish mosaic of flickering light and flames.

“You’ll enjoy deluxe accommodations as we put you up in the same hotel where we keep our extra-terrestrial guests,” McAndrews continued.  “And no stay at Area 51 would be complete without a visit to our relaxing spa. Here you can enjoy an ‘out of this world’ massage, but don’t be surprised if you find yourself poked, prodded or anally probed.”

Reservations for the September 20th event are still available on Facebook.  Attendees will meet up at the Area 51 Alien Center where shuttle buses will provide transportation to the site.