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Meta announces new efforts to protect young teens from sextortion and intimate image abuse.

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Meta has announced two initiatives designed to support young people and families as they explore the internet to mark the Safer Internet Day.

The first initiative dubbed Take it Down, is a platform that allows teens to take control of their intimate imagery and prevent them from spreading online. The second one is a new anti-sextortion campaign in partnership with Thorn, aimed at providing teens and parents with tips on how to handle and protect against sextortion.

According to Meta, Take It Down is a first-of-its-kind program from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC), supported by Meta, it builds off of the success of platforms like StopNCII, which helps prevent those seeking to exploit people from sharing adults’ intimate images online. The program was first launched in English and Spanish but is now expanding to many more languages making it accessible to millions of teens around the world. Take It Down is designed to help teens worried that their content might or has been posted online, adults worried about images taken of them when they were under 18 and parents or trusted adults who operate Meta products on behalf of a young person.

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Specialised teams within Meta are also working towards combating sextortion by identifying patterns associated with this behaviour, and building automated systems that detect and remove these accounts at scale. Meta has also partnered with Thorn to update our Stop Sextortion hub, offering new tips and resources for teens, parents and teachers on how to prevent and handle sextortion. Other safety organisations around the world including Watoto Watch, Missing Children Kenya, Eveminet and Childline Kenya are also working with Meta to raise awareness on this campaign.

“It can be frightening and overwhelming to have private, intimate images revealed to others, particularly for young people”, says Sylvia Musalagani, Head of Safety Policy for Africa, Middle East and Turkey at Meta. “As an organisation, we are announcing new efforts to ensure that our teens have control over what they post, and that parents and teens are aware of how to avoid and deal with sextortion. Non-consensual sharing or even threatening to share intimate images without consent is against our policies and nobody should ever have to experience this”.

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This is not Meta’s first move to protect kids and teens online. The firm has developed more than 30 tools and features to help support the safety of teens and families. Late last year Meta launched the Family centre with supervision tools and an Education hub in Kenya to support safer and more positive online experiences for families.

To access Take It Down, users can submit a case to have their intimate photos on participating apps proactively searched for by visiting TakeItDown.NCMEC.org and following the instructions. This feature secretly and directly from their own device gives each picture or video a distinct hash value, which is a numerical code. Companies such as Meta can use the hashes, they submit to NCMEC to locate any copies of the image, remove them, and stop the content from ever being posted on Meta’s apps, while the new guidance on sextortion can be found in Meta’s updated Sextortion hub within Meta’s Safety Center.

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James Musoba
James Musoba
Studying Africa's startup and technology scene. I always look forward to discovering new exciting inventions and vibrant entrepreneurs.

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