Microsoft To Combat Revenge Porn With Web Form

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Promises to remove ‘revenge porn’ images and video from Bing etc, but warns global action is needed

Microsoft has stepped up the fight against the growing trend of “revenge porn” and has promised to remove intimate images and videos that have been posted online without their consent.

Redmond has followed Google, after it said last month that it would honour requests to remove “revenge porn” from its search listings.

Web Form

Revenge porn refers to material, usually intimate imagery that is posted online without the subject’s consent, for purposes of humiliation or extortion.

Microsoft says it will now remove such imagery from search results in Bing when it notified by a victim. It will also remove access to the content itself when it was shared on its OneDrive cloud storage service or its Xbox Live gaming platform.

People can fill out this form to request the offending content is removed.

Porn - Shutterstock - © jaymast“When someone shares intimate images of another person online without that person’s consent, the effects can be truly devastating,” wrote Jacqueline Beauchere, Microsoft Chief Online Safety Officer in a blog post.

“Unfortunately, revenge porn is on the rise across the globe. It can damage nearly every aspect of a victim’s life: relationships, career, social activities. In the most severe and tragic cases, it has even led to suicide.”

She said that in the past people were able to report such content to Microsoft, but now the new reporting Web page is designed to make it easier for victims to let the firm know about these particular photos and videos. Microsoft said the form is currently available in English, but will expanded to include other languages in the coming weeks.

“When we remove links or content, we will do so globally,” said Beauchere, but she warned that global action was needed to tackle this problem.

“It’s important to remember, for example, that removing links in search results to content hosted elsewhere online doesn’t actually remove the content from the Internet – victims still need stronger protections across the Web and around the world.”

Better protection

Microsoft and Google are not the only tech companies to clamp down on revenge porn. Reddit has updated its privacy policy on the issue and Facebook has a team dedicated to deal with user complaints about sexually explicit images, as well as hate speech and other forms of harassment.

And the legal system is finally catching up as well. Earlier this year it was revealed that the owner of a ‘revenge porn’ website in the United States was jailed for 18 years after he was convicted of identity theft and extortion.

In January 2013, US Internet hosting giant Go Daddy was implicated in a lawsuit targeting administrators of a ‘revenge porn’ sites.

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Author: Tom Jowitt
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