This Meta-funded tool helps people remove their explicit images, videos from online platforms

A new online tool, funded by Meta, colloquially known as Facebook and developed by The National Center for Missing & Exploited Children (NCMEC) is helping people remove their sexually explicit images and videos that have spread across the wide realms of the internet. The tool, named ‘Take It Down’ is an attempt to grant more authority to the original owners of the media. 

The only caveat is that the images will only be removed from the participating platforms. Currently, Meta’s Facebook and Instagram, Yubo, OnlyFans and Pornhub are some of the platforms that have joined the initiative. 

Take It Down is made specifically for people who have an image that they have reason to believe is already out on the web somewhere, or that it could be,” Gavin Portnoy, an NCMEC spokesperson was quoted as saying by The Associated Press. 

Portnoy added that teens share such images with the person they are dating or someone who has extorted them. Once the image is out, they fear going to law enforcement agencies, fearing for their privacy. 

The website tool enables them to maintain a certain level of anonymity and simultaneously helps in removing the contentious image from spreading further. 

“We created this system because many children are facing these desperate situations. Our hope is that children become aware of this service, and they feel a sense of relief that tools exist to help take the images down. NCMEC is here to help,” said Michelle DeLaune, president and CEO of NCMEC. 

To achieve the objective, an individual needs to visit the website and create a digital footprint, also called ‘hash value’ by uploading the said photograph or video that has been leaked. 

This fingerprint is then fed into the database and participating companies remove the media from their services – no questions asked. 

However, if someone has altered the original image by cropping or adding any emoji or turning it into a meme – the hash value changes.

The participating platforms have been one of the most criticised online services for failing to protect minors from sexual exploitation. 

(With inputs from agencies)

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