Take It Down

Meta Combats “Sextortion” with New Features

Meta recently announced several updates and efforts to help teenagers on its platform combat sextortion. This step is taken in response to the rampant cases of sextortion. Sextortion has had significant impacts on teenagers, even leading to suicides.

Take It Down: Control Personal Photos from Offenders’ Grasp

Meta’s main effort is to expand the availability of Take It Down. Initially launched in English and Spanish, Take It Down is now available in 25 additional languages, including Indonesian.

This online tool, run by the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) with financial support from Meta. It empowers teenagers to regain control of their intimate photos. Besides that, it also prevent their dissemination by former partners or sextortion perpetrators.

Take It Down allows individuals under 18, parents/guardians acting on their behalf, and concerned adults whose photos/videos were taken when they were underage to remove such content from the internet. The process involves users privately adding a unique “hash” (numeric code) to their photos/videos without uploading the original content.

NCMEC can then identify and remove the content from various online platforms, simultaneously preventing perpetrators from spreading it in the future.

Sextortion Guide: Combat Threats with Information

In addition to Take It Down, Meta has also updated its Sextortion hub with a new guide for teenagers to face sextortion. This guide includes concrete steps to regain control and advice for parents supporting their children who have fallen victim to sextortion.

Meta collaborated with Thorn, a non-profit organization focused on protecting children from sexual violence, to develop this comprehensive guide.

Global Campaign: Raise Awareness and Prevent Sextortion

Meta has launched a global campaign to raise awareness among teenagers and parents about sextortion. They are working with security organizations and creator communities to disseminate information about perpetrators’ modus operandi, self-protection methods, and steps to take if one becomes a victim.

Meta’s efforts come after CEO Mark Zuckerberg testified before the United States Senate. Senator Lindsey Graham accused Meta of being “responsible” for teenage suicides resulting from sextortion on Instagram. Public pressure and the families of victims prompted Meta to take tangible actions in protecting teenagers from online threats.

Facing Sextortion Together

Sextortion is a serious issue that can have severe impacts on mental health and even the safety of teenagers. Through these new initiatives, Meta demonstrates its commitment to addressing this problem.

However, addressing this issue requires cooperation from all parties, including law enforcement, security organizations, social media platforms, as well as parents and teenagers themselves.

By raising awareness, providing protective tools, and continuing to innovate, it is hoped that sextortion cases can be reduced, allowing teenagers to engage in online activities safely and comfortably.

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