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The Meet Group and Microsoft Create Grooming Detection Technology

Microsoft has announced a new initiative designed to detect grooming in text. The new initiative, Project Artemis, was launched last week, and is a collaborative project between Microsoft, The Meet Group and a handful of other companies.

Project Artemis works with in-text conversations, and scans, evaluates, and ‘rates’ characteristics of the conversation to determine if the language being used could be considered predatory.

These ratings are then be sent to human moderators at participating companies who can then identify these threats and inform law enforcement.

The technology used was born out of a 2018 Microsoft hackathon, sponsored by the WePROTECT Global Alliance and the Child Dignity Alliance, and follows a fourteen month cross-industry allegiance between Microsoft and The Meet Group, Roblox, and Kik, as well as other companies.

The Meet Group CEO Geoff Cook explained: “Keeping children safe is a responsibility that we take incredibly seriously.

“While we prohibit minors from using our apps, the broader threat of child sex predators exists across the social landscape. We are pleased to have been invited to partner with one of the world’s most respected companies on this important issue.”

The technology is built using an existing Microsoft patent, PhotoDNA, and aids in the detection and reporting of child sexual exploitation images. Microsoft has been implementing Project Artemis on its Xbox platform and is exploring its usage in chat services, such as Skype. 

Approximately five children die everyday due to abuse, with 1 out of 3 girls and 1 out of 5 boys being sexually abused before they reach the age of 18. In terms of demographic, 82.2% of child abuse perpetrators were between the age of 18-44, the same demographic that is most likely to be social media active and technologically proficient. 

Microsoft said that the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, ECPAT International, INHOPE and the Internet Watch Foundation all provided valuable feedback throughout the process of developing the technique.

In July, The Meet Group entered a new partnership with the digital identification company Yoti, to bring age verification technology to its portfolio of dating and livestreaming apps.

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