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Meta introduces new tools to protect teens against sextortion, intimate image abuse

Meta has failed to prevent the promotion of child sexual abuse material on its platform, but new tools bring hope that it could become safer. These tools will make it more difficult for potential scammers and criminals to find and interact with teens.

Written By: Om Gupta New Delhi Published on: April 12, 2024 14:40 IST
Meta tools against sextortion and intimate image abuse
Image Source : META Meta tools against sextortion and intimate image abuse

Meta is testing new tools to protect teens from intimate image abuse and sextortion across its apps. Meta will default teens into stricter message settings and will show safety notices to teens who are already connected with potential scam accounts. It will also offer a dedicated option for users to report messages that are threatening them to share their private images. 

Nudity protection

As a part of these tools, Meta is rolling out nudity protection in private messages, which will be automatically activated for users under 18 years of age. The tool will use machine learning to detect and blur images that contain nudity. The analysis of these messages will happen in the user’s device and their messages will remain end-to-end encrypted. 

Users can still choose to view the image but Meta will also show them a message encouraging them not to feel pressure to respond. They will also have an option to block the sender and report the chat. 

Meta also detects if a person is sending a nude image and advises them to "take care when sharing sensitive photos" while highlighting potential risks. The tool also reminds users that they have the option to delete a message before it is seen by anyone. 

In addition to this, when someone tries to forward a message containing nudity, it reminds them to be responsible and respectful (although the image can still be forwarded). The company is set to start testing the tool soon.

Protecting teens from potential scammers

Meta is also testing various tools to identify potential scammers or sextortionists and prevent them from approaching teenagers. If someone who could be a bad actor tries to send a message, it will now go to hidden requests. If a conversation is already underway, teenagers will be warned and reminded of boundaries, along with instructions to report the user. Meta already prohibited people from messaging users aged 16 or under without a mutual connection, regardless of whether the other account claimed to be the same age. Now, these potential scammers won't be able to message a teenager, even if they follow each other.

ALSO READ: Meta to put "Made with AI" badge on broader range of AI-generated content

 

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