NCOSE Applauds Bumble and TikTok for Stepping Up to Confront Image-Based Sexual Abuse

NCOSE Press Statement logo

WASHINGTON, DC (December 5, 2022) – The National Center on Sexual Exploitation (NCOSE) said that Bumble and TikTok joining Facebook and Instagram in an industry partnership to confront image-based sexual abuse (IBSA) is notable and encouraged other tech platforms to do more to combat this growing form of sexual exploitation. The tech companies have agreed to share identified IBSA to block and expedite removal across platforms.

“We are thankful that Bumble and TikTok are joining efforts led by StopNCII.org to confront the growing epidemic of image-based sexual abuse, which can victimize anyone in an instant and cause lifelong trauma,” said Dawn Hawkins, CEO of the National Center on Sexual Exploitation.  

“Under current federal law, survivors have no rights to get this material removed, so it is imperative that digital platforms do all they can do curb sexual abuse from proliferating. Survivors face an uphill battle when making requests to remove content because websites that allow independent users to upload sexually explicit material frequently ignore their pleas. The new partnership will allow participating tech companies to share identified IBSA images in order to block new uploads and expedite removal processes.

“We are hopeful that when tech leaders work together, that image-based sexual abuse will be stopped. More must be done, and Congress should prioritize passing the PROTECT Act, which would ensure that federal law protects victims of image-based sexual abuse from websites monetizing and distributing their abuse,” Hawkins added.

Image-based sexual abuse (IBSA) involves creating, threatening to share, sharing, or using recordings (still images or videos) of sexually explicit or sexualized materials without the consent of the person depicted. It happens when child sexual abuse, rape, sex trafficking, or prostitution is filmed and circulated—or when videos made by hidden cameras, deepfake images, or leaked photos are uploaded without consent.

A 2017 U.S. survey conducted on Facebook found that of the 3,044 participants 1 in 8 had been targets of the distribution, or threat of distribution, of sexually graphic images without their consent. Women were more likely (about 1.7 times as likely) targets than men.

NCOSE awarded Bumble with its Dignity Defense Award in June 2022 for adding industry standard-setting safety features to their app to proactively block sexually explicit material, and for helping push through legislation in several states to criminalize cyberflashing – when people send unsolicited pictures of their genitals.

About National Center on Sexual Exploitation (NCOSE)

Founded in 1962, the National Center on Sexual Exploitation (NCOSE) is the leading national non-partisan organization exposing the links between all forms of sexual exploitation such as child sexual abuse, prostitution, sex trafficking and the public health harms of pornography.

The Numbers

300+

NCOSE leads the Coalition to End Sexual Exploitation with over 300 member organizations.

100+

The National Center on Sexual Exploitation has had over 100 policy victories since 2010. Each victory promotes human dignity above exploitation.

93

NCOSE’s activism campaigns and victories have made headlines around the globe. Averaging 93 mentions per week by media outlets and shows such as Today, CNN, The New York Times, BBC News, USA Today, Fox News and more.

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