Meta rolls out new privacy features to prevent ‘sextortion’ cases


By Online Desk

Meta has announced new updates to help teens and parents better identify and protect themselves and others against online predators, which can help combat the dangers of “sextortion” of teens on social media platforms, Today.com reports.

Meta, the company that owns Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp, has told Today.com “exclusively” that it is launching new privacy defaults for teens on Nov 21, the report said.

Sextortion is defined by the FBI as “a serious crime that occurs when someone threatens to distribute your private and sensitive material if you don’t provide them images of a sexual nature, sexual favors, or money.”

A common example of sextortion, according to the report, is when a teen is enticed into sending sexual photos or video, and then the target is threatened with exposure unless they pay money or continue providing sexual images.

The upgrades reflect what Antigone Davis, Meta’s Global Head of Safety, says is the company’s ongoing mission to make the platform safe for young people, Today.com added.

As of Monday, any U.S. user under the age of 16 will be “defaulted into more private settings when they join Facebook,” the company says in a statement provided to Today.com.

In addition to the updated privacy settings, the company is encouraging existing users to manually update their privacy settings for the following categories: Who can see their friends list, who can see the people, pages and lists they follow, who can see posts they’re tagged in on their profile, reviewing posts they’re tagged in before the post appears on their profile, who is allowed to comment on their public posts, the report pointed out.

Accounts deemed “suspicious,” according to the company’s announcement, will not be shown teens’ accounts in the “People You May Know” recommendation.

Meta describes a “suspicious account” as a profile belonging to an adult who “may have recently been blocked or reported by a young person.”

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