Meta has new anti-sextortion tools, but some say they’re ‘far too little, far too late’ to protect youth

From the CBC in Canada comes this piece by Kevin Yarr on dissatisfaction—among grieving parents and others—with Meta’s new tools that blurr nude images to address “sextortion,” saying they’re inadequate: 

“New anti-sextortion features announced Thursday by Meta, the company that owns the Facebook and Instagram, have not only come years too late but do not go far enough, says the Canadian Centre for Child Protection.

Sextortion is a growing crime in Canada, and the perpetrators often use social media as a platform. The perpetrators will pose as someone they are not, share an explicit image with someone, lure them into sending an intimate image in reply, and then threaten to send the victim’s images to their contacts if they don’t send money. 

‘It’s far too little and far too late. We’ve been begging for some of the things that they’ve announced here for probably a decade,’ Signy Arnason, the Canadian Centre for Child Protection’s associate executive director, said of the new tools being tested by Meta.

‘While some of the things here may be helpful, it really seems like a Band-Aid approach. The responsibility still rests with kids to keep themselves safe — and there’s just so much more these platforms could be doing.’

The new Meta features are aimed at stopping sextortion attempts by interceding when images are sent. . . . Users would have to have these protections turned on, but the company said that would happen by default for users under 18. Adults would be encouraged to turn on the protections.

The crime of sextortion can have tragic consequences. Last April, 17-year-old Harry Burke died by suicide in eastern Prince Edward Island just hours after sending nude images of himself to someone who claimed to be a teenaged girl.

Harry’s father, Carl Burke, is dismayed that despite these tragedies being repeated again and again, it has still taken years for social media companies to respond.

‘I don’t feel it’s enough,’ Burke said about what Meta is doing. 

‘There’s too much loss. Harry is lost to us because of this but there are other parents in Canada and the United States, many of them, that have suffered similar fates because of the social media platforms.’”

Article →`***

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