Accused child rapist caught after Facebook alerts authorities in Memphis

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Police say a child predator in Memphis is locked up thanks to help from Facebook.

Their computer software apparently flagged inappropriate pictures of a child on Facebook messenger and alerted federal and local authorities.

A several-months-long investigation landed Zachary Abram behind bars, charged with exploitation of a minor and statutory rape.

Police say he messaged a 15-year-old girl on Facebook and convinced her to send him nude photos. He apparently sent some back and eventually the two met in Whitehaven to have sex.

Police say they found out about the inappropriate relationship in January, when Facebook alerted the feds that child porn was posted to their server.

MPD tracked down the account, and then the victim.

On Wednesday, Abram was arrested.

“It’s incredibly common,” said Jordan Howard with the Family Safety Center. “They say 1 in 7 children will be solicited online.”

“Really it’s happening every single day.”

It’s why Facebook’s safety team says it implemented proactive policing, like allowing users to flag offensive material.

They also have software scanning pictures and chats to detect whether sexual predators are trying to pick up kids.

If there’s a match, they report it to authorities.

Parents told us they are taking matters into their own hands too.

Marcus Moffit says he caught someone trying to reach his daughter on a messaging app.

“I took her phone and started screening everything coming through her phone. I found out they were saying inappropriate things to my daughter,” Moffit said.

Moffitt says his daughter didn’t use Facebook, which is a good point the family safety center brought up: They say there’s so many apps out there kids are using like Snapchat and Kik that predators are using as well.