Instagram to blur nude images sent to minors; new AI to prevent online sextortion

Instagram is amping up its safety features in an effort to protect minors from online sexual harassment and sextortion. In a new move, the app will now blur nude and explicit images shared with minors through its new artificial intelligence tool.

Instagram will now blur explicit and nude images shared with minors (AP)(AP)

Instagram’s parent company Meta said on Thursday that it is incorporating new tools in its chat feature to protect teenagers from sexually exploitative scams and abuse which, as US politicians alleged, are damaging the mental health of youngsters.

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Gangs run sextortion scams by persuading people to provide explicit images of themselves and then threatening to release them to the public unless they receive money.

Meta said in a release that it is testing new AI tools that can provide ‘nudity protection’ for teenagers on Instagram, by finding and blurring images containing nudity in its messaging feature.

“This way, the recipient is not exposed to unwanted intimate content and has the choice to see the image or not,” Capucine Tuffier, who is in charge of child protection at Meta France, told AFP.

The company further said, “We’re testing new features to help protect young people from sextortion and intimate image abuse, and to make it more difficult for potential scammers and criminals to find and interact with teens.”

The firm, which is constantly accused of violating the data privacy of its users, stressed that it would not have access to the images unless users reported them.

US politicians said that they would provide sexual awareness training to any minor sending or receiving such images through social media. Some 3,000 young people fell victim to sexploitation scams in 2022 in the United States, according to the authorities there.

US states have been piling on Meta with lawsuits, accusing the company of “benefiting from children’s pain” by not taking action against rising cases of sextortion scams online.

Meta is also planning to roll out new safety features for all its platforms where content restrictions will be revised for those under 18, and parental supervision would be heightened.

(With inputs from AFP)

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