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Meta Announces New Ways to Help Teens Avoid Sextortion Scams

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Having a personal intimate image shared with others can be devastating, especially for young people. It can feel even worse when someone threatens to share it if you don’t give them more photos, sexual contact or money — a crime known as sextortion.

That’s why, this Safer Internet Day, we’re announcing new efforts to help combat this kind of criminal activity. These include giving more teens control over their intimate images, helping teens  — and their parents and teachers  — feel better equipped against those trying to exploit them, and supporting creators and safety organizations around the world as part of a global campaign to raise awareness of sextortion.

 Expanding Take It Down to More Languages and Countries

Take It Down is a program from NCMEC, supported by Meta, which is designed to help teens take back control of their intimate images and help prevent people — whether it’s scammers, ex-partners, or anyone else — from spreading them online. First launched last year in English and Spanish, Meta and NCMEC are now expanding the platform to many more countries and languages, making it accessible to millions more teens around the world.

There are several ways people can use Take It Down to find and remove intimate imagery, or help prevent people sharing them in the first place:

●        Young people under 18 who are worried their content has been, or may be, posted online

●        Parents or trusted adults on behalf of a young person

●        Adults who are concerned about images taken of them when they were under 18

Take It Down was designed to respect young people’s privacy and data security. To start the process, people can go to TakeItDown.NCMEC.org and follow the instructions to assign a unique hash — a digital fingerprint in the form of a numerical code — to their image or video, privately and securely from their own device.

Teens only need to submit the hash, rather than the intimate image or video itself, which never leaves their device. Once the hash has been submitted to NCMEC, companies like Meta can find copies of the image, take them down and help prevent anyone who’s threatening them from posting them in the future.

“Making Take it Down available in 25 languages is a pivotal step towards safeguarding children from the horrors of online exploitation all over the world,” said John Shehan, a Senior Vice President with the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children. “We aspire to ensure that every child, regardless of language or location, has the opportunity to reclaim their dignity and privacy by having their illicit content removed from participating platforms.”

Take It Down builds off of the success of platforms like StopNCII, which helps prevent those seeking to exploit people from sharing adults’ intimate images online.

New Resources for Teens, Parents and Teachers to Help Prevent Sextortion 

These moments can be upsetting and isolating, especially for young people, who may feel too scared to ask for help. That’s why we’ve worked with Thorn, a nonprofit that builds technology to defend children from sexual abuse, to develop updated guidance for teens on how to take back control if someone is sextorting them. It also includes advice for parents and teachers on how to support their teens or students if they’re affected by these scams. The new resources can be found in our updated Sextortion hub within Meta’s Safety Center.

Kelbi Schnabel, Senior Manager at Thorn, said: “Our work with Meta to provide targeted, robust sextortion resources has helped Thorn significantly enhance our efforts in combating sextortion. Our joint initiative is already empowering parents and teens to understand the risks and take action, which is a testament to the power of collaborative action in tackling complex challenges like sextortion. The result of our collaboration underscores the importance of accessible, comprehensive resources in the digital era.”

To help make sure teens and parents everywhere know about these scammers and what they can do to avoid them, Meta is launching a global campaign, supporting safety organizations and working with incredible creators around the world to help raise awareness.

Our Work to Help Protect Teens From Sextortion On Our Apps

Today’s updates build on the work we already do to help young people know there are steps they can take if someone has shared, or is threatening to share, their intimate images. We show Safety Notices to people on Instagram when they’re messaging someone who has shown potentially scammy or suspicious behavior. These Safety Notices urge people to be cautious, encourage them to report any account that threatens to share their private images, and remind them that they can say no to anything that makes them feel uncomfortable. We also direct teens to Take It Down at relevant moments when using Facebook and Instagram, such as if they report someone for sharing their private images, for nudity, or for sexual exploitation.

And we work to help protect teens from unwanted contact in the first place. We default teens under 16 (and under 18 in certain countries) into private Instagram accounts when they sign up, which hides their follower and following lists, and we restrict adults over 19 from messaging minors who don’t follow them. Last month, we announced stricter default message settings, meaning teens under 16 (and under 18 in certain countries) won’t receive messages from anyone they don’t follow or aren’t already connected to, providing more protection against potential scammers.

 


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Ugo Onwuaso is an ICT enthusiast. He believes technology should be used for general good. He holds a Master of Public Administration (MPA) degree from the Lagos state University. Dear Reader, Your support matters. But we believe that technology makes life more exciting and helps improve the lives of people around Nigeria and indeed the world. That is why, we have devoted our energy to independent reportage of technology and finance and how they affect lives. Our incisive and analytical view of how technology news affects the daily life help individuals and organizations make up their minds. Quality journalism costs money. Today, we're asking that you support us to do more. Kindly support our effort to deliver technology and finance journalism to everyone in the world. Donate as little as N1,000. Bank transfers can be made to: UBA Plc 1017156876 Communication Week Media Ltd

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9mobile Urges Subscribers to Link their NIN to Their Phone Lines to Avoid Disconnection

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Telecommunication network, 9mobile, has urged its subscribers who have not linked their SIM cards with their National Identity Number (NIN) to carry out the exercise on or before February 28, 2024, to avoid disconnection from the network.

Customers who do not comply with this directive will be unable to make or receive calls, have no access to the internet, no SMS, no One Time Password (OTP), and no bank alerts.

This was revealed by the Director, Customer Care at 9mobile, Ehimare Omoike, who said that this action was in line with the directive of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC).

The Commission had in December 2023 directed that all telephone subscribers must have their NIN linked on their operator’s network to verify the identity of the phone users and minimize the criminal use of network services. At the moment, more than 35% of subscribers’ lines are yet to be linked to their NIN, forcing authorities to issue a deadline.

Ehimare noted that customers whose mobile lines are not linked to their NIN will be disconnected from all telecommunication service of the network. “Your line will be disconnected when you do not link your SIM to your National Identity Number (NIN).

“The implication here is that as a subscriber on 9mobile network, you will be completely shut out from access to the virtual world and you will be greatly inconvenienced.

“We therefore urge all our valued subscribers to endeavour to link their mobile lines with their NIN before February 28, 2024, to keep enjoying endless and seamless value offerings that enhance their lifestyle from 9mobile.”

He advised 9mobile subscribers to go and link their line now by visiting any 9mobile outlets for instant linking of their lines, or visit  https://9mobile.com.ng/experience-centres to check the nearest 9mobile experience centers.

It will be recalled that the compulsory registration by Nigerians of the National Identity Number (NIN) and the subsequent linkage of the NIN to their Subscriber Identification Module (SIM) cards is a policy by the Federal Government through the NCC to improve the integrity and transparency of the SIM registration process and consolidate the achievements of the SIM registration exercise of 2019.

The long-term goal of this initiative is to attain a widespread digital identity database and improve security in Nigeria.

The linking involves validating the NIN with the National Identity Management Commission (NIMC) and matching the subscriber’s NIN records with the SIM registration information (verification) to ensure proper subscriber identification.

 


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Airtel Ads to Support African Businesses Achieve Effective and Enhanced Advertising Reach

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Airtel Africa has launched Airtel Ads, Africa’s first integrated Demand-Side Platform (DSP) aimed at empowering advertisers and agencies to efficiently manage, purchase, and optimize digital ad inventory across multiple ad exchanges in real-time.

Powered by Intent.ai, Airtel Ads is designed for media agencies and businesses, streamlining the process of purchasing advertising space.

This feature enables advertisers to make informed ad placement decisions by combining various tools and functionalities within a single platform and offers a comprehensive solution for digital advertising management.

The platform will leverage Airtel Africa’s extensive customer base of more than 150 million customers, utilizing data from both telecommunications services and mobile wallets.

This approach aims to not only target digitally engaged individuals but also include those traditionally excluded from the digital realm through its 2G and feature phone user base.

Additionally, through the integrated Airtel Voice Reward Ads, the platform has the capability to reach consumers on various devices.

Understanding the current limitations in ad performance for organisations, Airtel Ads aims to seamlessly merge all ad networks with Airtel Africa’s first party telecommunications data.

It will provide a unified advertising platform with precise audience segmentation, a dedicated marketing team, data analytics with post-campaign support in addition to both native language support and access to 260+ bidding parameters.

The platform, powered by ai based brand safety tools, will also accept payments in local African currencies.

Since its inception, the platform has achieved a weekly audience reach of 27 billion impressions, 23.5 million in-app daily impressions and over 200 million daily SMS notifications daily with end-of-SMS tag messaging potential.

Speaking on the launch, Airtel Africa’s Chief Commercial Officer, Anthony Shiner said: “We are excited to introduce Airtel Ads in Africa. This innovative platform will support advertisers and businesses to gain unprecedented control over their marketing campaigns, leveraging Airtel Africa’s extensive customer base and world class technology.

“Airtel Ads is a testament to our leadership in shaping the communications landscape in Africa, ensuring businesses are supported to achieve their objectives using data first tools to inform their business decisions.”


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Anambra State ICT Agency Unveils Pilot Phase of Free Public Wi-Fi Initiative in Awka

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In a monumental leap toward transforming Anambra State into a smart mega city, Governor Charles Chukwuma Soludo, CFR, has reaffirmed his commitment to a technologically advanced future for the state, through the launch of the pilot phase of the Public Wi-Fi initiative tagged Solution Wi-Fi.

Driven by the Anambra State ICT Agency in collaboration with Pineheight Systems Limited (PHSWEB), this pilot phase initiative, which signposts a resounding fulfillment of promises outlined in the People’s Manifesto, marks a significant stride towards launching the state into the digital age.

As part of his visionary manifesto detailed on Pages 20 and 33, Governor Soludo pledged to “Provide cheap (and ultimately free) Wi-Fi hotspots in public places for the takeoff of the State’s emergence into the digital age” and “Work with development partners to deploy broadband access to schools across all levels and public libraries to improve access to the internet for all and continue to build the digital tribe.”

According to a statement signed by the MD/CEO of the Anambra State ICT Agency, Chukwuemeka Fred Agbata, CFA, the agency is dedicated to realizing Governor Soludo’s vision of “Everything Technology, Technology Everywhere”, adding that this pilot phase is part of the ongoing technological transformation under the Soludo Agenda.

CFA explained, “The broader vision includes collaboration with development partners to provide broadband access to schools and public libraries, thereby enhancing internet accessibility across all strata of the society.”

CFA emphasized that the Solution Wi-Fi initiative, now operational in three strategic locations in the state capital Awka namely Aroma Junction, Book Foundation, and UNIZIK Back gate, will see users within these locations enjoy one hour of free internet access, every 24 hours, during the pilot phase.

He further explained that all 3 locations are not only strategic but quite important for students and businesses alike. “The deployment of the Solution Wi-Fi to these areas will no doubt boost educational activities while businesses can also leverage it to enhance their online presence.

“High speed and free internet access can also help our teeming young population to begin to create content that will yield revenue amongst other prospects, the opportunities are endless,” CFA concluded.

To access the free Solution Wi-Fi, businesses around the designated locations and individuals, can upon activation of their Wi-Fi, and selection of “Solution Wi-Fi”, follow the SMS authentication prompt, to create a username (phone number). After which they will receive an auto-generated code via SMS. This code serves as the password, granting them one hour of fast internet access per day, with an effective range of up to 200 meters, depending on the user’s device.

This groundbreaking initiative underscores Anambra State’s unwavering commitment to technological excellence, recently acknowledged at the National Council on Communication, Innovation, and Digital Economy (NCCIDE) meeting in Kano, where the state received prestigious awards, including Overall Best State in Digital Technology Development, First Position for Best State in Digital Infrastructure Technology Development, and First Runner-up in e-government Implementation and Digital Technology Human Capital Development.

Anambra State proudly takes its place on the technology map of Nigeria, a testament to Governor Soludo’s steadfast commitment and investment in technology, and the State ICT Agency reaffirms its commitment to a future marked by technological advancement, innovation, and unparalleled progress for the state.


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