Meta launches new safety initiatives aiming at online protection of women

StopNCII.org is an initiative by Meta to prevent the spread of non-consensual intimate images
Meta, the rebranded parent company of Facebook and its apps, on Thursday, announced several initiatives aimed towards online safety of women, including a project to prevent the spread of non-consensual intimate images. 

StopNCII.org is an initiative by Meta to prevent the spread of non-consensual intimate images (NCII), often called “revenge porn”. In partnership with UK Revenge Porn Helpline, StopNCII.org builds on Meta’s NCII Pilot, an emergency programme that allows potential victims to proactively hash their intimate images so they can’t be proliferated on its platforms.

This is a technology that assigns a unique hash value (a numerical code) to an image, creating a secure digital fingerprint. Tech companies participating in StopNCII.org receive the hash and can use that hash to detect if someone has shared or is trying to share those images on their platforms.

A first of its kind platform, NCII.org has partnered with various Indian organisations such as Social Media Matters, Centre for Social Research, and Red Dot Foundation.

The other initiative is a Women’s Safety Hub, launched in Hindi and 11 other Indian languages, which will enable more women users in India to access information about tools and resources that can help them make the most of their social media experience while staying safe online. 

The Women’s Safety Hub hosts all the safety resources women need when navigating the platform, including specific resources for women leaders, journalists and survivors of abuse. Additionally, it also contains video-on-demand safety training and allows visitors to register for live safety training hosted in multiple languages. 

Developed in consultation with various non-profit partners around the world, the safety hub, besides English, will also be available in Hindi, Marathi, Punjabi, Gujarati, Tamil, Telugu, Urdu, Bengali, Odia, Assamese, Kannada, and Malayalam.  

“At Meta, building a safe online experience has been a priority and our commitment and efforts to keep women safe are industry-leading. While we continue to build and invest to ensure online safety, the launch of these initiatives today is another step towards our commitment. We are confident that with our ever-growing safety measures, women will be able to enjoy a social experience which will enable them to learn, engage and grow without any challenges,” said Karuna Nain, Director, Global Safety Policy at Meta Platforms Inc.

Bishakha Datta, Executive Editor, Point of View and Jyoti Vadehra, Head of Media & Communications, Centre for Social Research are the first Indian members in Meta’s Global Women’s Safety Expert Advisors. The group comprises 12 other non-profit leaders, activists, and academic experts from different parts of the world and consults Meta in the development of new policies, products and programmes to better support women on its apps.

Meta also launched a discussion paper by Sattva Consulting titled, ‘Connect, Collaborate and Create: Women and Social Media During the Pandemic’. The Meta-commissioned paper talks about measures to address the sharp gender imbalance in social media usage in India.

The paper highlights that only 33 per cent of women in India use social media, against 67 per cent of men. Based on secondary research and interviews with individuals and civil society organisations, the paper suggests ways to bridge the gender divide that is exacerbated by issues such as limited internet connectivity in rural areas, lack of device ownership and poor digital literacy. The paper also cites the positive impact of social platforms on the economic, social and emotional well-being of women, especially during the pandemic.  

“India is an important market for us and bringing Bishakha and Jyoti onboard to our Women's Safety Expert Advisory Group will go a long way in further enhancing our efforts to make our platforms safer for women in India,” said Nain.

Madhu Singh Sirohi, Head of Policy Programs and Outreach, India at Meta, said, “In the past year when normalcy was upended, social media played a significant role in the personal and professional lives of women, not only for connecting with friends and families but also as an enabler to entrepreneurship. With our recent initiatives, we understand there is a massive opportunity for us to further the positive impact of social media platforms on women by addressing digital inclusion gaps and ensuring women have a safe environment to engage online.”



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