Sextortion Exposed: Meta Shields Teens from Online Predators

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Sextortion Exposed: Meta Shields Teens from Online Predators

| Updated: February 6, 2024 20:53

Sextortion Exposed: Meta Shields Teens from Online Predators

On Safer Internet Day, Meta stepped up its efforts to protect young people from the harmful grip of sextortion. The company announced a series of new initiatives, including expanding its “Take It Down” program, launching awareness campaigns, and providing resources for teens, parents, and educators.

Sextortion, a form of online exploitation where perpetrators threaten to share intimate images unless the victim complies with their demands, can have devastating consequences for young people. Meta’s “Take It Down” program empowers them to fight back by allowing them to privately submit digital fingerprints of their intimate images. Meta then uses this information to proactively identify and remove copies from its platforms.

Previously available in English and Spanish, “Take It Down” is now expanding its reach to 25 additional languages, making it accessible to millions more teens globally. This move was praised by John Shehan, a Senior Vice President with the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children, who called it “a pivotal step towards safeguarding children from the horrors of online exploitation.”

Beyond technological solutions, Meta is partnering with organizations like Thorn to create resources that guide teens on regaining control if they are being sextorted. These resources, available in the Meta Safety Center, also offer valuable advice for parents and teachers on supporting affected teens.

Raising awareness is another crucial aspect of Meta’s strategy. The company is launching a global campaign and collaborating with creators and safety organizations worldwide. Additionally, Instagram users will receive safety notices when interacting with suspicious accounts, encouraging caution and reminding them of their right to refuse unwanted messages.

Meta is also taking proactive steps to protect younger users by implementing stricter default messaging settings on Instagram. These settings, which prevent contact with strangers and offer protection against potential scammers, are now in place for users under 16 and under 18 in certain countries.

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