Facebook now testing a system that will help end revenge porn

Nov 09, 2017, 00:26
Facebook now testing a system that will help end revenge porn

Facebook is taking a rather interesting approach to combating "revenge porn" in Australia - by asking Australian Facebook users to send them nudes. The company is testing a program in Australia that would mark each picture as non-consensual explicit material.

According to the e-Safety Commissioner, one in five women between 18-45 and one in four Indigenous Australians are victims of revenge porn.

The victims of revenge porn often give initial consent to sharing their photos with one other person, only to find out later that the images have fallen in the hands of a stranger. In a measure to prevent such incidents, Facebook wants users to upload nude pictures of themselves on messenger.

Revenge porn is one of the latest online problems, and it's one to which it would seem hard to come up with a solution. The Telegraph reported that to provide the photos directly to Facebook, users should send them through the Messenger app. Firstly, the user has to upload an explicit photo of themselves to the messenger (later delete the same from chat).

Julie Inman Grant, Australia's e-Safety commissioner, said Facebook would not permanently store the images, only their digital fingerprints, which are capable of blocking further attempts to upload the pictures but can not be decoded to produce the images themselves.

Here in Ireland, Tánaiste Frances Fitzgerald publicised the Government's intentions to criminalise revenge porn in May of this year.

Facebook has finally found a way to protect users from having their nudes leaked and disseminated over the social network without their consent, but it's a little unorthodox.

The new method is being practiced in Australia, the US, the United Kingdom and Canada as a preventative tool in combating sextortion. Well, share your nude photo first with Facebook.

Clarifying on its plans, Facebook said it would hash the image which essentially means creating a digital footprint of the image. "They're not storing the image, they're storing the link", Grant replied to concerns about who at Facebook is seeing this material.

My hope and expectation is that Facebook will automate the process as much as possible, but that there may need to be some human involvement to review submitted images.