Facebook, Microsoft try to keep up with vast scale of online abuse

Two giants in the digital world presented some key ways they are trying to keep up with the vast scale and increasing sophistication of the abuse and exploitation of minors online.

Oct 12, 2017

By Carol Glatz
Two giants in the digital world presented some key ways they are trying to keep up with the vast scale and increasing sophistication of the abuse and exploitation of minors online.

Representatives from Facebook, the largest social media site in the world, and Microsoft, the world’s biggest software company, called for increased cooperation among businesses, governments and law enforcement to develop, share and utilise digital tools to prevent and stop abuse and bring perpetrators to justice.

“There is nothing more important to us than the safety and security of our community, especially young people,” said Antigone Davis, head of global safety at Facebook.

She was among some 140 experts and leaders attending a congress on protecting children in a digital world Oct 3-6 in Rome. Hosted by the Pontifical Gregorian University’s Centre for Child Protection in partnership with WePROTECT Global Alliance, the aim was to get faith communities, police, software and social media industries, mass media, nonprofits and governments working together to better protect minors.

Davis, who was a former school teacher and lawyer advising a US state attorney general before leading safety efforts at Facebook, said, “We have zero tolerance for child sexual exploitation material being shared on Facebook and we’re extremely aggressive in preventing and removing that content.”

Digital crimes require digital solutions, and Davis said that since 2011, every photo that is uploaded to Facebook is scanned using Microsoft’s PhotoDNA, which can find copies, even if they’ve been altered from the original images of child sexual exploitation. The illegal content is immediately deleted, the account is taken down and everything is reported to the US National Centre for Missing and Exploited Children, she said.

Facebook has started using the same technology for video as well, and the company can crack down on newly generated content to prevent it from being shared, she said. --CNS

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