Facebook tackling child exploitation on its apps

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Earlier this week Facebook announced that it is focusing on the prevention of exploitative content aimed at children from being shared on its applications and platforms.

The company’s efforts come in the form of new tools that is actively developing and testing out, with two in particular being highlighted by Facebook at the moment.

“Based on our findings, we are developing targeted solutions, including new tools and policies to reduce the sharing of this type of content. We’ve started by testing two new tools — one aimed at the potentially malicious searching for this content and another aimed at the non-malicious sharing of this content,” explained Antigone Davis, Global head of Safety.

The tool designed to tackle searching will involve a pop-up notification that appears when users search for content that Facebook and its apps have linked to child exploitation. “The pop-up offers ways to get help from offender diversion organizations and shares information about the consequences of viewing illegal content,” says the company.

The second tool is an alert that will appear informing a user that they have shared a piece of content that has been deemed as child exploitation. The alert will also feature links to report content, or get more information about child exploitation and the steps Facebook is taking to limit it on its platform.

“We share this safety alert in addition to removing the content, banking it and reporting it to NCMEC. Accounts that promote this content will be removed,” it adds.

Along with the aforementioned tools, Facebook is refining its policies to better handle instances where exploitative content is uploaded or shared. To that end, it has sought to make reporting of such instances far easier.

“After consultations with child safety experts and organizations, we’ve made it easier to report content for violating our child exploitation policies,” notes the company.

Whether these new tools and policies will have the desired effect remains to be seen, but it is at least pleasing to see that Facebook is taking more steps to ensure its platforms and apps are safer for underage users and less of a haven for those wanting to exploit them.

[Image – Photo by Ludovic Toinel on Unsplash]

Robin-Leigh Chetty

Robin-Leigh Chetty

When he's not reviewing the latest smartphones, Robin-Leigh is writing about everything tech-related from IoT and smart cities, to 5G and cloud computing. He's also a keen photographer and dabbles in console games.