Market Daily

Market Daily

Meta goes the extra mile for teen protection, adds new tool

Meta In this day and age, social media platforms have allowed people to interact from afar.

While social media has benefits, it also has drawbacks.

It can be used to bully people, for example.

Meta, the parent corporation of Facebook and Instagram, is fully aware of how its platforms have become havens for such crimes, particularly “revenge porn.”

The problem

The act of posting explicit images of another person online without their permission is known as revenge porn.

Teens, in particular, are vulnerable to revenge porn, with scandalous material being shared on social media platforms such as Facebook and Instagram.

According to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, there has been an upsurge in the quantity of revenge porn on the internet in recent years, particularly among young males.

Meta has developed a new tool called “Take It Down” to stop the spread of indecent pictures.

The tool

Take It Down targets those who post explicit images of others without their consent in order to humiliate them.

It is operated and managed by NCMEC, and it allows children to anonymously attach a hash or digital fingerprint to personal images or videos recorded with their own device.

Users are also not required to submit them to the new platform.

By visiting the official website, teenagers may install the application and produce a hash of explicit material.

The image will not be retained in the database, but the anonymized number will.

Because the photo is linked to Meta, it will be compared to the original, reviewed, and perhaps removed from the site if it is shared on Facebook or Instagram.

“This issue has been incredibly important to Meta for a very, very long time because the damage done is quite severe in the context of teens or adults,” said Meta global safety director Antigone Davis.

“It can do damage to their reputation and familial relationships, and puts them in a very vulnerable position.”

“It’s important that we find tools like this to help them regain control of what can be a very difficult and devastating situation.”

Who can use it?

Take It Down is compatible with images shared on Facebook, Instagram, and their respective direct messaging platforms that are not encrypted.

Additionally, anybody under the age of 18 can utilize Take It Down on behalf of a young person in consultation with parents and trustworthy adults.

Meta pays for the complete price of the instrument.

Furthermore, it builds on StopNCII, a similar website founded in 2021 by more than 70 non-governmental organizations, all of which seek to combat revenge porn among adults.

Read also: Severance deals won’t be as strongly enforced by NLRB

The effort

Around 250,000 reports of online enticement, including sextortion, have been received by the NCMEC’s cyber tip line since 2016.

In 2019 and 2021, the number of reports more than doubled.

Last year, 79% of perpetrators sought monetary compensation to prevent the photographs from being uploaded, with many of them occurring on social media.

Lawmakers questioned Antigone Davis about the Meta apps’ impact on younger users over a year and a half ago.

It was stated at the time that the company was aware that Instagram may be “toxic” to teen girls.

While the company did provide more tools and safeguards, experts argue it took too long and that more could have been done.

At his recent State of the Union address, President Joseph Biden demanded clarification on Meta’s algorithms and their impact on the mental health of adolescent users.

Davis responded by saying that the company respects efforts to standardize the industry so that children may explore and use internet services.

She also indicated that the company is stepping up its efforts to safeguard young users, notably by eliminating indecent pictures.

“Sextortion is one of the biggest growing crimes we see at the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children,” said Gavin Portnoy of NCMEC.

“We’re calling it the hidden pandemic, and nobody is really talking about it.”

Portnoy also highlighted the surge in youth suicides caused by revenge porn.

“That is the driving force behind creating Take It Down, along with our partners,” he added.

“It really gives survivors an opportunity to say, look I’m not going to let you do this to me. I have the power over my images and my videos.”

Other platforms take action

Apart from Meta, OnlyFans and MindGeek, Pornhub’s parent company, are using similar technologies on their websites.

But, there are certain limitations.

One possible loophole is to alter the original image by cropping it, adding emojis, or doctoring it.

Take It Down can still recognize filters like sepia or black and white.

Meanwhile, Meta advises kids to generate a hash for each copy of the picture or edited version.

“There’s no panacea for the issue of sextortion or the issue of the non-consensual sharing of intimate images,” said Davis.

“It really does take a holistic approach.”

Take It Down is not the company’s first attempt to spend resources addressing inappropriate content with children.

It has already made adjustments to the platforms in order to create a more age-appropriate experience for teens, such as:

  • Supervision tools for parents
  • Age-verification technology
  • Defaulting teens into private settings on Facebook and Instagram

Image source: Tech Spot

Opinions expressed by Market Daily contributors are their own.