Facebook is testing out new tools designed to combat child exploitation and abuse. The platform will now provide warnings for users who search for and post content that exploits children.
Facebook Takes a Tougher Stance on Child Exploitation
In a post on the Facebook Newsroom, the platform firmly stated that “using our apps to harm children is abhorrent and unacceptable.” That’s why the platform is trialing two new features that prevent the online abuse of children.
The first is a warning notification, which appears whenever a person uses Facebook to search for terms related to child exploitation. Not only will the notification warn the user of the potential legal ramifications of this search, but it will also include a link to an offender diversion program.
Facebook is also rolling out a second warning popup that’s geared towards users who share content that exploits children. The notification will inform the user that the content they’ve shared is harmful, and may result in legal consequences. It also states that the offender’s account “may be disabled” if they share exploitative content again.
Along with the safety alert, Facebook will remove the exploitative content, store it, and then report it to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCME). Facebook notes that it’s using the “insights from this safety alert” to help the platform “identify behavioral signals of those who might be at risk of sharing this material,” which will help Facebook discourage this behavior in the future.
Facebook has updated its child safety policies as well. The rules now make it clear that Facebook will remove “profiles, Pages, groups and Instagram accounts that are dedicated to sharing otherwise innocent images of children with captions, hashtags or comments containing inappropriate signs of affection or commentary about the children depicted in the image.”
Additionally, Facebook is also making it easier to report exploitative content. The platform now provides the option, “involves a child,” when reporting an inappropriate post. Facebook states that these reported posts will be “prioritized for review.”
Social Media Still Needs Better Child Safety Features
Social media can still be a dangerous place for children. As much as major social platforms try to keep children secure, it’s not unusual for kids to find their way into trouble.
With TikTok being one of the most popular platforms among the younger generation, the platform has (thankfully) been heading in the right direction in terms of child safety. It lets parents control their child’s account with Family Pairing, and also makes young kids’ accounts private by default.
But despite this, TikTok—and all other social platforms, for that matter—still have room for improvement.