Meta unveils new ways to fight "sextortion," but what is it and how?

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Key notes

  • Meta combats sextortion by expanding the Take It Down program to more languages and countries.
  • New resources for teens, parents & teachers on preventing sextortion available in Meta’s Safety Center.
  • A global campaign was launched to raise awareness of sextortion and empower teens to take control.

Meta is announcing new efforts to help combat sextortion. This crime involves threatening to share intimate images or videos of someone to extort them for money, sexual contact, or other things. 

These efforts include giving more teens control over their intimate images, helping teens and their parents and teachers feel better equipped against those trying to exploit them, and supporting creators and safety organizations around the world as part of a global campaign to raise awareness of ways to prevent sextortion.

  • One of the new initiatives is the expansion of Take It Down, a program from the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children (NCMEC) that helps teens regain control of their intimate images and prevent people from spreading them online. 
  • Meta is also working with Thorn, a nonprofit that builds technology to defend children from sexual abuse, to develop updated guidance for teens on how to take back control if someone is sextorting them. It also includes advice for parents and teachers on supporting their teens or students if they’re affected by these scams. The new resources are in the updated Sextortion hub within Meta’s Safety Center.
  • Meta is also launching a global campaign to raise awareness of sextortion and the steps that can be taken to prevent it. The campaign will support safety organizations and work with creators worldwide to spread the word.

In addition to their existing measures, they now show Safety Notices to users on Instagram when messaging someone who has demonstrated scammy or suspicious behavior. They also direct teens to Take It Down at appropriate moments when using Facebook and Instagram.

Sextortion is a serious crime that can have devastating consequences for victims. Meta’s new efforts are a welcome step in the fight against this crime. Meta also announced labels of AI-generated content on their platforms.

According to a 2020 report from the NCMEC, there were over 6,000 reports of sextortion made to the organization in 2019. The victims of sextortion are often young people, and the crime can lead to depression, anxiety, and even suicide.

More here.

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