TECH

Microsoft Launches 'Revenge Porn' Reporting Site To Help Victims Fight Back

22/07/2015 17:07 BST | Updated 22/07/2015 17:59 BST

Microsoft has launched an online tool to help the victims of the growing 'Revenge Porn' phenomenon get their content hidden from public view.

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Following Google's lead, Microsoft revealed in a blog post that it would be providing a dedicated site where victims can log in and then highlight the content they want blocked.

While neither Google or Microsoft can remove the content from the third-party websites, they can make sure that they don't appear in any Bing or Google search results.

Microsoft has also taken things a step further by saying that if the content is being hosted on either of their storage services OneDrive or Xbox Live then they'll block access to it.

In a statement on the site Microsoft said: "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."

"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."

Revenge porn became illegal in the UK on 13 April and comes with a potential two-year jail sentence if convicted. While praise for the increased severity of the punishment has been unanimous, many experts agree that there's still much to be done.

Barbora Bukovska, a senior director at freedom of expression charity Article 19, argued on Radio 4's Today programme in February: “We need to realise that criminal legislation will not resolve this problem. We need a broad range of policy interventions, we need education at home, we need peer pressure and we also need some effective and firm mechanisms for intermediaries, to ensure that these images can be removed from the internet."

Microsoft and Google agree, Microsoft points out "victims still need stronger protections across the Web and around the world."

"In the meantime, our hope is that by helping to address requests and to remove these extremely personal photos and videos from our services, we can better support victims as they work to re-claim their privacy, and help to push just a little further in the fight against this despicable practice."

The new UK revenge porn helpline can be reached on 0845 6000 459.

For confidential advice on revenge porn and other domestic abuse issues, women can call the National Domestic Violence Helpline on 0808 2000 247.

Men can contact the Men’s Advice Line on 0808 801 0327.