In previous years, Facebook and Instagram had a couple of attempts to help you stop your nudes from spreading – by sharing them with Meta. The company has just announced yet another program that stops intimate images from going around the internet, and it’s aimed particularly at teenagers.
Take It Down is Meta’s latest initiative, made in partnership with the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC). It’s made to protect the young from having their nude photos shared without their knowledge or consent.
Take It Down works pretty much the same as Meta’s previously launched platform, StopNCII.org. Only this time, it focuses on nude, partially nude, or sexually explicit photos and videos of people under 18. On Take It Down’s website, it’s explained how it works:
Select the intimate image(s)/video(s) you want hashed from your device that meet the criteria listed below.
For each image or video, Take It Down will generate a “hash” or digital fingerprint that can be used to identify an exact copy of that image or video.
Your image or video remains on your device and is not uploaded. The hash is added to a secure list maintained by NCMEC that is shared only with participating online platforms who have agreed to use this list to scan their public or unencrypted sites and apps for the hashes of your explicit content.
If an online platform detects an image or video on its public or unencrypted service that matches a hash value, it can take action to limit the spread of the explicit content!
Please do not share the images/videos on any social media after you have submitted them here. Once the hash value for your image or video has been added to the list, online platforms may use them to scan their public or unencrypted services. If you post the content in the future, it may be flagged and could put a block on your social media account.
Online platforms may have limited capabilities to remove content that has already been posted in the past. For additional help or if you’re aware of a specific location where your image or video is posted, you can also make a report to NCMEC’s CyberTipline where we can offer additional services and support.
Antigone Davis, Meta’s Global Head of Safety, explains in a statement that you don’t send photos directly to the company. Instead, the material you submit gets a unique hash, or “digital fingerprint,” which will help track any of those images or videos online. Meta claims that photos or videos never leave your device while creating the hash.
It would be a nightmare to have your nudes published without your consent, and I know a couple of women who have been through it. So the idea of creating a platform that helps intimate images from spreading is certainly great. But I wouldn’t feel comfortable sharing sensitive material with Meta, either. After all, it’s a company known for several major data breaches and scandals, so I believe you understand my skepticism. What do you think? And what would you do?