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Bogus Facebook Message Warns Cutest Baby Comp Images Being Misused

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.

Cute cartoon baby

© Depositphotos.com/ Pedro Angeles-Flores



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.

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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. You can find our details on any of our country pages, for example: http://au.babyvote.com/about-us

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.

A search of the UK's Companies House Website shows that BabyVote 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, notes via 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.

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Last updated: October 24, 2013
First published: August 7, 2013
By Brett M. Christensen
About Hoax-Slayer

References
Baby Vote Cutest Baby Competition
The Gro Company - Facebook
BabyVote - About Us
Babyvote Cutest Baby Competition Australia
Companies House - Babyvote Limited




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