New Facebook Tools Help Prevent Child Exploitation-news

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Facebook is testing new tools to prevent child exploitation on its apps. The company this week announced a focus on deterrence, as well as recent improvements to detection and reporting functions.

“Using our apps to harm children is abhorrent and unacceptable,” Antigone Davis, global head of safety at Facebook, wrote in a blog post, describing a pair of fresh features aimed at potentially malicious searches and non-malicious sharing.

The first, a pop-up shown to people who search for terms associated with child exploitation, highlights the consequences of viewing illegal content and offers ways to get help from offender diversion organizations. The second is a safety alert, informing people who share such content of the harm it can cause, and warning of the legal consequences. Facebook also removes the content at issue and reports it to NCMEC.

“We are using insights from this safety alert to help us identify behavioral signals of those who might be at risk of sharing this material,” the blog said, “so we can also educate them on why it is harmful and encourage them not to share it on any surface—public or private.”

On top of that, Facebook expanded its work detecting and removing networks that violate the company’s child exploitation policies, and updated its child safety policies to clarify that it “will remove Facebook profiles, Pages, groups, and Instagram accounts dedicated to sharing otherwise innocent images of children with captions, hashtags, or comments containing inappropriate signs of affection or commentary about the children depicted in the image.”

“We’ve always removed content that explicitly sexualizes children, but content that isn’t explicit and doesn’t depict child nudity is harder to define,” according to Davis. “Under this new policy, while the images alone may not break our rules, the accompanying text can help us better determine whether the content is sexualizing children and if the associated profile, Page, group, or account should be removed.”

Most people upload child exploitative content not with the intent to harm, but due to outrage or a poor sense of humor. Still, as Davis pointed out, “one victim of this horrible crime is one too many.” To report criminal content on Facebook or Instagram, select Nudity & Sexual Activity > Involves a child. These reports will be prioritized for review.

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