Instagram will test nudity protection in messages to fight sextortion

Instagram is far from a shining example of protecting young people online could not prevent it its algorithm promotes child sexual exploitation material. But the new features give hope that the platform will be a little more secure (at least a little?). Meta has announced that it is introducing new tools designed to protect users from intimate image abuse and sextortion – when a person is digitally blackmailed into sharing intimate media.

This is one of the most important updates nudity Private messages are protected. Meta confirmed it first builds this technology in 2022, and it will automatically activate the tool for users under 18 years of age. Once turned on, the machine learning tool will detect and blur images it suspects are nudity for the buyer. Analysis takes place on the user’s device, so messages must remain end-to-end encrypted without Meta ever having access to them. Users will get the option to view the image, along with a safety tips button and an option to block the sender, along with a pop-up message from Meta telling them they shouldn’t feel pressured to reply.

Meta’s new tool, which it will begin testing “soon,” also detects whether a person is sending a nude photo and warns them to “be careful when sharing sensitive photos,” while noting the potential risks. Plus, it reminds users that they can delete the message before anyone sees it. Then there’s a final caveat: a reminder to be responsible and respectful appears when someone tries to transmit a message with detected nudity (although this still allows the image to be transmitted).

Then there are tools designed to spot potential scammers or sextortionists and make it harder for them to approach teens. Message requests from these possible bad actors should now switch to private requests, and anyone already participating in the conversation will receive an alert with boundary reminders and steps to report users. As for the youth, Meta previously, it banned users 16 or younger from messaging unless they interacted, even if the other account claimed to be the same age. Now, even if these potential cheaters follow each other, they won’t see the option to message teens.

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