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Bogus Facebook Message Warns Cutest Baby Comp Images Being Misused

by Brett M. Christensen

Outline

Viral Facebook message warns that baby photographs entered into a Cutest Baby competition via a UK website are being reposted on a sex-related website. 

Brief Analysis

The claims in the warning are untrue. BabyVote.com is a legitimate website and entry photographs submitted on the site are not being posted elsewhere as claimed. Spreading malicious and unfounded rumours such as this will help nobody and may unfairly damage the reputation of a legitimate organization that has done nothing wrong. If you receive one of these messages, please do not share it with others. And please take the time to let the sender know that the claims in the message are false.

Example

if anyone from the uk has entered the cutest baby 2013 comp to protect your children as people are taking the pictures and putting them on a website to be sold as sex slaves !! this is sick !! report the comp to help get it shut down !!
thank you. also can you add… to remove your picture you have to go to the top right hand corner, there is a help botton, click that and scroll down then there is an option to remove entry

 

Detailed Analysis

According to a message that has been circulating via Facebook for several months, baby photographs entered in a “cutest baby” competition via a UK website are being reused on a sex-related website.   The message advises parents to remove their children’s images from the site and report it so that it can be shut down.

The message does not specifically name the cutest baby competition website, but many commentators suggest that it is referring to BabyVote.com.

However, the claims in the warning have no factual basis.  A spokesperson for BabyVote.com contacted me and has provided the following statement on the issue:

We’ve recently been made aware of statements posted about BabyVote which are completely untrue. Distracting our users from the fun, family orientated nature of the competition. BabyVote is a legitimate UK registered company.

 

Please be assured photos uploaded at babyvote.co.uk will not be shared with any third parties & will be used solely for the purposes of the competition.

 

Please help us ensure these malicious acts are unsuccessful by continuing to enjoy & share the competition with your friends & family.

 (Editors note: Since this report was first published, the company has changed its name to Pandere Limited.)

A search of the UK’s Companies House Website shows that Pandere Limited is indeed a registered company.

Moreover, BabyVote.com competitions are sponsored by other legitimate and well-known companies. The Gro Company, sponsor of  Babyvote Cutest Baby Competition Australia, previously noted on its Facebook Page:

The Gro Company are proud to Sponsor Babyvote Cutest Baby Competition Australia. Having seen the great success of the competition in the UK we are delighted to be continuing our relationship with them in Australia. This is Leo, the winner of Babyvote in the UK wearing part of his prize bundle – a fabulous Grobag. Good luck to all the entrants !

There is no credible evidence whatsoever that supports the rather bizarre claims in the “warning” message”. I have not seen any reports from parents that claim that their baby pictures have actually been taken and used in the way described.

Moreover, if a sinister group wished to procure baby photos for use on a sex-related site, a simple Google Image search would reveal many thousands of suitable images ripe for the taking. There would, therefore, be no reason for these people to set up an elaborate baby photo competition to get suitable images.

Certainly, parents should be very careful where and how they publish images of their children online. But, the claims in this silly warning message are without substance and should not be taken seriously.

Spreading malicious and unfounded rumours such as this will do nothing whatsoever to protect children. And the messages may unfairly damage the reputation of a perfectly legitimate organization that has done nothing wrong. If this message comes your way, please do not share it with others. And please let the sender know that the claims in the message are untrue.



Importance Notice

After considerable thought and with an ache in my heart, I have decided that the time has come to close down the Hoax-Slayer website.

These days, the site does not generate enough revenue to cover expenses, and I do not have the financial resources to sustain it going forward.

Moreover, I now work long hours in a full-time and physically taxing job, so maintaining and managing the website and publishing new material has become difficult for me.

And finally, after 18 years of writing about scams and hoaxes, I feel that it is time for me to take my fingers off the keyboard and focus on other projects and pastimes.

When I first started Hoax-Slayer, I never dreamed that I would still be working on the project all these years later or that it would become such an important part of my life. It's been a fantastic and engaging experience and one that I will always treasure.

I hope that my work over the years has helped to make the Internet a little safer and thwarted the activities of at least a few scammers and malicious pranksters.

A Big Thank You

I would also like to thank all of those wonderful people who have supported the project by sharing information from the site, contributing examples of scams and hoaxes, offering suggestions, donating funds, or helping behind the scenes.

I would especially like to thank David White for his tireless contribution to the Hoax-Slayer Facebook Page over many years. David's support has been invaluable, and I can not thank him enough.

Closing Date

Hoax-Slayer will still be around for a few weeks while I wind things down. The site will go offline on May 31, 2021. While I will not be publishing any new posts, you can still access existing material on the site until the date of closure.

Thank you, one and all!

Brett Christensen,
Hoax-Slayer