The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) has introduced a novel tool named "Take It Down," aimed at helping minors preemptively prevent the sharing of their nude images online. This tool enables anyone to anonymously report images or videos that sexualize minors, encompassing content showing nudity, partial nudity, or sexualized poses. Upon reporting, any online platform partnering with this initiative will automatically block uploads or eliminate content matching the reported hash.
This initiative is part of NCMEC's strategy to combat the growing issue of teen sextortion, which has notably increased in recent years, especially affecting teenage boys who might fall victim to scams or deception, leading them to share compromising content.
The data from NCMEC’s online tipline between 2019 and 2021 reveals a worrisome trend: the number of sextortion cases reported more than doubled during this period, with almost 80% of these cases involving teens facing financial sextortion. This trend is particularly concerning as it can lead to extreme consequences such as suicides.
Since its soft launch in December, the Take It Down tool has already garnered over 200 users, as stated by Gavin Portnoy, the Vice President of Communications and Brand at NCMEC. Meta, one of the primary partners, alongside Pornhub and OnlyFans, has contributed to funding this tool. Moreover, other social media platforms such as Facebook and Instagram are expected to join this important initiative soon.
Participation in Take It Down stands apart from other databases for reporting child sexual abuse materials (CSAM) or adult revenge porn due to its requirement for platforms to voluntarily opt-in. The involvement of Meta during the launch phase may influence other major platforms like TikTok or Twitter to join this significant effort.
The initiative aligns with the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) of "Good Health and Well-being," emphasizing the necessity for societies to ensure access to healthcare and well-being for everyone, particularly children and teenagers. Take It Down serves as a means to prevent bullying and aid survivors of sextortion, human trafficking, and revenge porn. By halting the dissemination of distressing content, the initiative contributes to constructing a sustainable and fair society for all.
In essence, Take It Down is a proactive tool designed to shield minors from the adverse effects of sextortion. By collaborating with online platforms, it holds the potential to significantly diminish the spread of harmful images affecting vulnerable teenagers. NCMEC's alignment with the global vision of achieving Sustainable Development Goals underscores its commitment to prioritizing the well-being of all individuals. Taking action to prevent sextortion signifies a step toward creating a more sustainable future for future generations.