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Microsoft follows Google in revenge porn crackdown

Microsoft follows Google in revenge porn crackdown

Microsoft is making it easier for users to request removal of content from Bing, OneDrive or Xbox Live

Taking a leaf out of Google's book, Microsoft will provide a web form to submit removal requests for links to intimate content or video that appear on its search site Bing.

The commitment follows the increasingly prevalent phenomenon dubbed "revenge porn," where jilted former partners or extortionists upload sexually explicit content online.

"Unfortunately, revenge porn is on the rise across the globe," said Jacqueline Beauchere, Microsoft's chief online safety officer, in a blog post. "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."

The company has created a new special Web page for reporting such privacy violations and will also remove the content if its hosted on its OneDrive or Xbox Live services.

However, removing links to images or videos from search results does not actually remove the content itself from the Internet.

In June, Google launched a similar effort and also created a special Web form that allows revenge porn victims to report links to sexually explicit images posted online without their consent.

Reddit has also pledged to remove offensive and intimate content from its site.

The revenge porn phenomenon has grown considerably in recent years, even leading to the creation of dedicated websites whose owners have tried to profit from it.

In June, Casey Meyering was sentenced to three years in prison in California for operating what the authorities called a "cyber exploitation website" through which he encouraged people to post revenge porn images and then charged victims to remove them. In April, Kevin Bollaert received an 18-year prison sentence for multiple counts of extortion and identity theft in connection with the operation of a similar website.

Another related phenomenon that the FBI is worried about is known as sextortion. It involves hackers stealing sexually explicit images or videos from computers or mobile phones and then trying to blackmail victims for similar content, money or even sexual favors under the threat of posting what they have online.

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