Align with govt’s vision to keep women, youth safe from online harm: Smriti Irani to Meta

Companies like Meta (formerly Facebook) should align with the central government’s vision to keep people, especially women and youth, safe online across cities and towns in India, Union Minister for Women and Child Development Smriti Irani said on Monday.

Addressing the ‘Digital Suraksha Summit’ organised by Meta, the Minister also urged Meta to come forward and partner with the government agencies directly and responsibly on issues of women and child safety and mental health.

“They should expand this important discussion to smaller cities of India — ensuring women and youth from every corner of the country feel safe to express themselves online and reap the benefits of the digital revolution that is sweeping the country today,” Irani noted.

The ‘Digital Suraksha Summit’ brought together key policymakers, CSOs, parenting communities, creators and educators to talk about online safety.

The social media giant said it is launching ‘Take It Down’, created by the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) with Meta’s support, to help young people tackle the issues of non-consensual intimate images in India.

‘Take It Down’ will soon be available in Hindi and several other Indian languages.

The platform allows people to only submit a hash — rather than the intimate image or video itself — to NCMEC.

Hashing turns images or videos into a coded form that can no longer be viewed, producing hashes that are secure digital fingerprints.

Once the hash is generated, we can use those hashes to find any copies or the images or videos, take them down and prevent them from being posted on our apps in the future, said Meta.

“Keeping women and teens safe online is an industry-wide challenge, and we are committed to being a part of the solution. We take comprehensive steps to ensure the safety of women and teens not just on our platform, but online. We have policies and technology in place to safeguard women and teens, we offer tools to users, like blocking, comment filters and reporting,” said Antigone Davis, Vice President, Global Head of Safety, Meta.

The company has partnered with the Ministry of Women and Child Development to launch the #AmritGeneration campaign, which will encourage young people, many of whom are aspiring creators, to freely express their vision for the future.

“Today, millions of women-led businesses and teens use our apps to express their authentic selves. We are committed to building tools and resources that will make our apps and the internet more safe and inclusive,” added Sandhya Devanathan, Vice President & Head (India), Meta.

On Safer Internet Day 2023, the company launched the first phase of its #DigitalSuraksha campaign.

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