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To Fight Revenge Porn, Facebook Wants You To Send Nudes: Wait, What?

8 November 2017, 8:46 am EST By Carl Velasco Tech Times
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Facebook targets children under 13 years with new messenger app

Facebook has announced an odd way to fight revenge porn. It sounds completely ridiculous, but on second thought, it actually makes sense.

Revenge porn, or the publishing of pornographic images, videos, and other content without the consent of the subject, has become a serious problem social networks have mostly failed to prevent. Not only are they harmful content per se, but they're also a form of abuse and harassment. On Twitter, it only takes a few search words and clicks to see such posts. Users don't even have to look far sometimes, as they might show up in the newsfeed. That's a big problem.

How Facebook Plans To Solve The Revenge Porn Problem

Facebook is testing a preemptive solution to fight revenge porn in Australia. On paper, it seems like a joke.

Here's the deal: As the Australian Broadcasting Association reports, the social network has partnered with Australia's e-Safety — a government office dedicated to keeping minors safe online — to develop a new system of preventing revenge porn.

Facebook wants users to voluntarily upload their nudes directly to Messenger.

This is how it works: By uploading photographs that a user fears someone might share online in the future, Facebook can digitally "hash" the said photo to give it a digital footprint. This will enable the social network to track the media using the same artificial intelligence it uses to recognize faces in photographs. If detected, Facebook will automatically prevent it from being uploaded to Facebook, posted on Instagram, or sent to Messenger threads.

While that method screams "privacy concern," e-Safety Commissioner Julie Inman Grant assures that Facebook only looks at certain properties of the image.

"They're not storing the image, they're storing the link and using artificial intelligence and other photo-matching technologies," she said. So suppose someone tries to upload the same photo, Facebook will make sure that doesn't go through.

The Plight Of Revenge Porn

Revenge porn is a toxic issue for Facebook. In March, Marine Corps Times uncovered a secret Facebook group of 30,000 marines that published nude photos of servicewomen. Sharing nude photos in private groups is bigger challenge to preventing revenge porn because the victims might have no idea their photos are being circulated.

With the new method, Facebook will prevent revenge porn even in secret groups and essentially in all parts of Facebook where images can be uploaded. It's actually not new, though. Back in April, Facebook implemented the same photo matching and facial recognition AI to prevent users from reuploading banned images. The only difference now is that victims have the option to specify which photos they don't want to see published.

Expanding To Other Countries

For now, Australia is the only country working with Facebook to implement this anti-revenge porn method, but Facebook said it's looking to expand the program to other countries as well.

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