New tool removes explicit images of minors online


Mark Michel

A student wipes a chalkboard clean. A new “take it down” tool allows for minors to put in a report for explicit images of them on the internet, and it will be taken down.

Ella Michna, Reviews Assistant

One in three college students report having visited non-consensual nude-sharing sites, called revenge porn. To combat underage revenge porn and over 29 million reports of images and videos of child sexual exploitation online, the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children’s Website created a new tool called “Take It Down.”

The tool is funded by Meta platforms and partners with six companies – Facebook, Instagram, OnlyFans, Pornhub, TikTok, and Yubo to remove explicit images following a report. No one else will see the content that gets reported, as the tool transforms them into a hash, which is something like a digital fingerprint that they use to track down where the image or video was shared. The website is user-friendly and features guiding illustrations, as they strive to provide a comfortable environment that keeps its vulnerable user base in mind.

A drawback, however, is that the six participating companies do not cover the entire scope of social media and online pornography because there are countless porn websites out there. “Take It Down” also does not work for encrypted media, such as direct messages.

Loyola’s Chief Information Officer Alan Schomaker said that once images have been shared, they no longer are under your control.

“It’s like trying to put toothpaste back into the tube; you are never going to get it all,” Schomaker said. “With the internet, apps, phones, etc., there is no magic wand that can totally eliminate everything. Technology has allowed a different way to view explicit content than what was available in the past. This is much different than viewing magazines like Playboy, because of the ease of access and sheer volume of content.”

The unrealistic nature of pornographic content affects how porn viewers treat others in real life, leading to behaviors such as porn addiction, revenge porn, and sexualization of minors and women, according to the American Psychological Association.

In response to these issues, tools like “Take It Down” have become a viable yet incomplete way to remove unwanted explicit content because of their advanced technology that can reach a wide but not full scope.

Student wiping a messy but blank chalkboard.
A student wipes a chalkboard clean. A new tool “take it down” allows for minors to put in a report for explicit images of them on the internet, and ti will be taken down. Nadir Benslimane