Facebook wants your nude photos for your own protection

Terry Joseph
November 9, 2017

Facebook has launched a trial that will see users submit nude photos of themselves in order to prevent the circulation of "revenge porn" on its network. CNBC reports Facebook's anti-revenge porn pilot program is available in the U.S., U.K., and Canada.

According to Australia's eSafety office, one in five Australians has faced image-based abuse, where an intimate photo has been posted to social media without their consent. "If someone fears they are at risk of revenge porn, they can contact e-Safety", they explained. "So if somebody tried to upload that same image, which would have the same digital footprint or hash value, it will be prevented from being uploaded", she said.

This is not the first attempt by the social media giant to combat the increasing menace of revenge porn. The Telegraph reported that to provide the photos directly to Facebook, users should send them through the Messenger app.

There may also be concerns over sending such highly sensitive images to a firm which has struggled in the past to allay user concerns over security and privacy - even if users are effectively messaging themselves.

"Revenge porn" is horrendous enough as it is, without technology companies making the problem worse.

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It works like this: you send Facebook your nudes, the company's software has a look and then image matching algorithms will continuously comb the site to make sure that no images matching your nudes are posted.

It is believed that a full four percent of USA internet users are victims of revenge porn. "Facebook's hashing system would then be able to recognize those images in the future without needing to store them on its servers". Nor is it clear whether you could upload images after someone has started to share them online to stop them from being spread further.

The new method is being practiced in Australia, the USA, the United Kingdom and Canada as a preventative tool in combating sextortion. Facebook, Twitter and Google all use the the same hash database to identify and remove illegal images.

Facebook won't store the image, just the digital fingerprint. "Unfortunately, the issue of revenge porn, or unwanted distribution of compromising photos isn't one that can be solved by technology alone".

Other reports by Free-Prsite

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