Microsoft Bing Takes Step To Stop Revenge Porn

Online harassment is not new, but Microsoft took a step Wednesday to stop what the industry now calls "revenge porn."

More content sourced from social networks and Web and photo sites now indexes in search engine query results, so Microsoft has released a reporting Web page allowing people to request removal from Bing search results, and content shared on Microsoft OneDrive or Xbox Live. The content consists of nude or sexually explicit images shared online without the person's consent.

"This reporting mechanism is but one small step in a growing and much-needed effort across the public and private sectors to address the problem," wrote Jacqueline Beauchere, chief online safety officer at Microsoft. "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."

advertisement

advertisement

People have had the ability to report "digital sexual assaults" to Microsoft in the past, but the new reporting page aims to make it easier for victims to report photos and videos. Today, the Web page is available in English, and will expand to other languages in the coming weeks. Microsoft said when it removes the links or content, it will do so globally.

One description of revenge porn says "online harassment has very little to do with free speech and everything to do with [disturbing, psychological] behavior" -- and little, if anything, has been done to stop it. Now companies like Google, Microsoft, and Yahoo more closely tie services through the back end of the Internet, content can serve up in a variety of locations. 

When it comes to revenge porn, women take the brunt of hardship. In fact women make up more than 95% of reported victims, and the unauthorized sharing of sexual images remains legal in many of U.S. states. Twenty-two states now have laws on the books and proposed national legislation is due next month.  

Next story loading loading..