The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) recently launched Take it Down — a site designed to aid in stopping the online distribution of illicit images of young people. NCMEC was aided by a heavyweight ally, Meta. The social media giant announced the partnership in a blog post published Monday.
Meta’s announcement noted that teens’ personal, intimate images are sometimes used in “sextortion” — extorting more photos, sex, or money from the victim. It continued:
Take It Down lets young people take back control of their intimate images. People can go to TakeItDown.NCMEC.org and follow the instructions to submit a case that will proactively search for their intimate images on participating apps. Take It Down assigns a unique hash value — a numerical code — to their image or video privately and directly from their own device. Once they submit the hash to NCMEC, companies like ours can use those hashes to find any copies of the image, take them down and prevent the content from being posted on our apps in the future.
Meta went on to say that Take It Down was designed with the company’s financial support. It was also constructed to respect victims’ privacy and overall data security. Users only need to submit a hash (encoded), not an entire image or video, to NCMEC.
Take It Down will be heavily promoted on Facebook and Instagram, and the platforms are working to make it a feature in their reporting tools.
The announcement emphasized Meta’s zero-tolerance policy regarding exploiting young people. It stated that Facebook and Instagram are working to prevent this content, inappropriate interactions between young people, and suspicious accounts that might use them.
Meta said it provides resources for teens to advise them of the potential harms of taking intimate images. In addition, it has developed more than 30 tools across its signature apps intended to support the safety of teens and families.