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Tool Launched to Block Teen Sextortion Images on Social Media

Global Goals & Global Society
Tool Launched to Block Teen Sextortion Images on Social Media

The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) has launched a new tool to help minors proactively block their nude images from being shared online. The tool, called Take It Down, allows anyone to anonymously report images or videos that sexualize minors, including images with nudity, partial nudity, or sexualized poses. From there, any online platform that has partnered with the initiative will automatically block uploads or remove content matching that hash. The initiative is part of NCMEC's plan to reverse the trend of teen sextortion, which has been increasing in recent years, particularly among teen boys who can be scammed or catfished into sharing compromising content.

Between 2019 and 2021, the number of sextortion cases reported on NCMEC’s online tipline more than doubled, with nearly 80% of those cases involving teens suffering financial sextortion. This trend is particularly worrying as it can lead to suicides in extreme cases.

Take It Down has already had over 200 users since its soft launch in December, according to NCMEC’s communications and brand vice president, Gavin Portnoy. The tool has been funded by Meta, which is among Take It Down’s biggest partners, along with Pornhub and OnlyFans. Other social media platforms such as Facebook and Instagram are expected to join the initiative soon.

Participating in Take It Down is different from other databases for reporting child sexual abuse materials (CSAM) or adult revenge porn because it requires platforms to opt-in to participating. Having Meta involved at launch may influence other major social platforms like TikTok or Twitter to get involved.

The initiative promotes the SDG goal of "Good Health and Well-being," which emphasizes the need for societies to provide access to healthcare and well-being for all individuals, including children and teenagers. The tool helps teens avoid bullying, as well as benefit survivors of sextortion, human trafficking, and revenge porn. By preventing the spread of this traumatizing content, Take It Down contributes to building a sustainable and just society for all.

In conclusion, Take It Down is a proactive tool that can help protect minors from the negative consequences of sextortion. By partnering with online platforms, it has the potential to make a significant impact on reducing the spread of images that can cause harm to vulnerable teens. NCMEC aligns with the vision of a global society committed to achieving SDGs that prioritize the well-being of all individuals. By taking action towards preventing sextortion, we can build a more sustainable future for generations to come.[DCG1]


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