A new service promises to help teenagers remove explicit images that have been posted online.
Called “Take It Down,” the online tool is operated by the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children and funded by Meta Platforms, the owner of Facebook and Instagram.
Take It Down is a free service that aims to “remove or stop the sharing of nude, partially nude, or sexually explicit images or videos” taken of people under age 18. Users of the service remain anonymous, and no images need to be submitted to use it. “It’s scary when this happens to you, but it can happen to anyone,” the site says.
Each photo identified by a user is given a digital fingerprint that then goes into a database, The Associated Press reported. Several technology companies have agreed to participate in the project and remove the image(s) from their servers.
The service can be used by people who may have posted the photos online themselves, or who may have sent the photo to someone who is now threatening to post it online.
As of Feb. 27, Facebook, Instagram, Yubo, OnlyFans and Pornhub are the only websites participating in the program, according to the AP.
If someone has altered the original image before posting it, such as cropping it or adding elements — such as emoji or text — it will not be included under the system and would need to be assigned its own unique digital identifier, the AP reported. Images that are similar but not identical would each need to be requested separately.
“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, a spokesman for the NCMEC told the AP. “You’re a teen and you’re dating someone and you share the image. Or somebody extorted you and they said, ‘if you don’t give me an image, or another image of you, I’m going to do X, Y, Z.”
Portnoy told the AP that the website’s anonymity will allow people to use it who may not feel comfortable involving law enforcement.
“To a teen who doesn’t want that level of involvement, they just want to know that it’s taken down, this is a big deal for them.”
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