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Facebook Says Revenge Porn Is No Match For Its New AI

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Facebook has been taking a number of steps to combat revenge porn, which is a category referring to sensitive content featuring other people — most, if not all of them captured in private moments — shared without their consent and with the intention to bring them shame.

Suffice it to say that revenge porn can inflict serious consequence on people who appear in the photos, and they're so widespread and pervasive that Facebook is leveraging both artificial intelligence and machine learning to get rid of them.

AI To Help Facebook Fight Revenge Porn

Facebook claims its new AI technology can detect near-nude images or videos shared without permission on Facebook and Instagram. The announcement follows Facebook's earlier version of a similar feature, in which people directly submitted their private photos as a way to "teach" Facebook's recognition algorithm.

Run in partnership with victim advocate organizations, the program would then create a "digital fingerprint" of that submitted images so Facebook could stop them from being distributed across its network.

What's different about this new technology is that it doesn't require submission of photographs from the victims themselves. This is crucial, says Facebook, because revenge porn victims might be too afraid to report the content themselves. Sometimes, they don't even know their intimate photos are being shared.

Facebook didn't divulge just how its new AI tech works, but noted the process involves more than just "detecting nudity." After the system flags an image or video, a Community Operations member will review the image and then remove it if it violate the company's policies. Facebook might disable the account as well. No AI is perfect, obviously. So Facebook says there's an appeal process in case the system gets it wrong.

Why Fighting Revenge Porn Is Important

Facebook says addressing revenge porn is important because failure to curb it can take a toll on people's mental health. Victims might suffer from severe anxiety, depression, suicidal ideation, and at times even PTSD if left unable to do anything about their sensitive content being shared.

There might also be consequences in the context of work pursuits, such as losing a job or a relationship. Worse yet, some countries with less lax cultural views on sexuality might downright punish victims.

Moving forward, Facebook promises it will create victim support toolkits by working with a number of partners across the globe.

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