Meta is taking action to stop the proliferation of teen-focused “revenge porn” on Facebook and Instagram.
A new program called Take It Down targets the habit of posting an explicit image of a person without their knowledge in order to publicly humiliate them. According to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, the popularity of revenge porn has exploded in recent years on social media, especially among young boys.
For the first time, Take It Down, which is owned and operated by NCMEC, will let children anonymously attach a hash — or digital fingerprint — to pornographic photos or videos from their own devices without having to upload them to the brand-new site. to encode an explicit hash, a teen can visit the website TakeItDown.
NCMEC.org to install software onto their device. The anonymized number, not the image, will then be stored in a database linked to Meta so that if the photo is ever posted to Facebook or Instagram, it will be matched against the original, reviewed and potentially removed.
“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 Antigone Davis, Meta’s global safety director.
“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.”
The tool works for any image shared across Facebook and Instagram, including Messenger and direct messages, as long as the pictures are unencrypted.
People under 18 years old can use Take It Down, and parents or trusted adults can also use the platform on behalf of a young person. The effort is fully funded by Meta and builds off a similar platform it launched in 2021 alongside more than 70 NGOs, called StopNCII, to prevent revenge porn among adults.
Since 2016, NCMEC’s cyber tip line has received more than 250,000 reports of online enticement, including “sextortion,” and the number of those reports more than doubled between 2019 and 2021. In the last year, 79% of the offenders were seeking money to keep photos offline, according to the nonprofit. Many of these cases played out on social media.