Facebook joins industry initiative to combat online child sexual abuse

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Facebook has today announced it is joining Google and Microsoft, along with 15 other tech companies in a renewed fight to combat online child sexual abuse.

In a blog post today, Antigone Davis, Facebook’s Global Head of Safety said:

At Facebook, we use sophisticated technology and behavioral signals not only to prevent, detect and remove images and videos that exploit children, but also to detect and prevent grooming, or potentially inappropriate interactions between a minor and an adult. And we use this technology across Facebook, Instagram, Messenger and WhatsApp. But any industry-wide problem requires solutions broader than just one company – we need a robust international effort to combat this problem.

That’s why today, Facebook joined Google, Microsoft and 15 other tech companies to announce the formation of Project Protect: A plan to combat online child sexual abuse – a renewed commitment and investment from the Technology Coalition expanding its scope and impact to protect kids online and guide its work for the next 15 years.

The new initiative, Project Protect, will focus on five key areas. They are:

  • Tech innovation
  • Collective Action
  • Independent Research
  • Information and Knowledge Sharing
  • Transparency and Accountability

Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg said:

“Project Protect brings together the brightest minds from across the tech industry to tackle a grave issue that no one company can solve on its own – child exploitation and abuse. Facebook is proud to help lead this initiative that we hope will lead to real changes that keep children safe.”

Through its five key focus areas, the group hopes to do several things, notably “accelerating the development and usage of groundbreaking technology to support the cross-industry approach powered by a multi-million dollar innovation fund”, as well as convening tech companies alongside local governments and civil society, creating “a holistic approach to tackle this issue.”

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Independent Research will be funded with the ‘End Violence Against Children Partnership’ to further collective understanding about experiences and patterns of child exploitation and online abuse. The push for more transparency and accountability will be done in partnership with WePROTECT Global Alliance.

You can read the full announcement here.

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