Facebook profile raises concern

Police are investigating whether a Facebook user requesting Brisbane mothers send them photos of their babies is an online predator.

The person, purportedly a woman, has approached users on publicly accessible parenting groups, asking for pictures of their children's used nappies for "absorbency research".

The suspected predator has made some requests that the photos be of children with their nappies open.

The person has been offering $20 or $50 gift cards in exchange for the images.

Editor of parenting advice blog Brisbane Kids Ngaire Stirling was concerned enough to post a warning about the requests on her site's Facebook page.

"I've received about six messages individually from mums who have dealt with her," she said.

"As soon as they started asking questions about [the exact nature of the exchange], that's where the conversation ended, and that was a concern for the mothers."

Ms Stirling said as well as the obvious concern about what would happen to the images, there was fear about whether the offer of gift cards had an even more malicious purpose.

"Were they after photos, or were they after addresses of young children?" Ms Stirling said.

Neither Ms Stirling nor Fairfax Media has named the profile in order to give police the best chance of investigating the case.

Suspect social media profiles are often quickly shut down after any adverse publicity.

Ms Stirling said many of the parenting Facebook groups she belonged to were now searching for the profile and blocking it.

"When you're in these groups, you can enter into them anonymously and sit in the background for ages," she said.

"Slowly relationships build up on these pages where mums trust other mums, and then they start posting pictures of their kids... they think they're posting in a secure group."

Ms Stirling said many of her commenters had referred the profile to Facebook, but held out little hope the organisation would act fast to remove it.

She said parents should ensure their profile settings were set to private, and remember that their profile pictures remained searchable.

The story Facebook profile raises concern first appeared on The Sydney Morning Herald.

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