A new app called Take It Down is specifically designed to help minors scrub the internet of explicit images that have been shared without their consent, and it sounds like a real game-changer.
“Having nudes online is scary,” the app’s website reads, “but there is hope to get it taken down.”
Nude or suggestive photos and videos, initially intended to be private, have triggered scandals, ended careers and left reputations in tatters.
The free service promises to help remove or stop the online sharing of nude, partially nude or sexually explicit photos and videos taken before a person turned 18. It also allows users to remain anonymous and assures them they won’t have to share the images or videos in question in order to have them deleted.
Essentially, the app assigns a “unique digital fingerprint” known as a hash value to problematic images, which then allows online platforms to detect them and either block or remove them from the internet.
That said, Take It Down “will work on public or unencrypted online platforms that have agreed to participate,” the website explains, adding that the service itself is provided by the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children. So far, that includes platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, OnlyFans, Yubo and Pornhub. (For those images that were taken after turning 18, the website refers you to stopncii.org.)
Sadly, these kinds of situations happen all too often and are increasingly common now that teens and young children are getting their own phones with access to the internet.
“We do see it; unfortunately it’s almost in some ways becoming normalized, that it’s part of dating, it’s part of relationships where people exchange nudes,” Beth Jackson, Community Education Program Manager for the National Children’s Advocacy Center, told FOX54 News. “We also do see the exploitation part of it, where somebody meets up with someone online, or it’s also peers that you send something as a joke and then next thing you know, they’re actually sextorting, if you will, asking you for more images or money.”
The new tool is already helping people, with more than 200 cases reported since the app’s launch in December 2022. But given how widespread the issue is, there’s still a lot of work left to be done.
“It’s giving people control over something that maybe they did not mean to necessarily get posted or maybe they have that, ‘oops, I should not have done that,'” Jackson said.
That alone is undeniably empowering — and in some cases, could even be life-saving.
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