Facebook To Fight Revenge Porn With Nude Images In Australian Pilot Program

Facebook is running a pilot exercise to combat revenge porn on its social media platforms. To protect its users, the social media giant requires them to send nude images they believe are at risk to be leaked.

Facebook has partnered with a small Australian government agency to test its project. Seemingly counterintuitive, it appears that Facebook’s plan is to have users report the existence of a threat, send a copy of the image at risk, and the social media giant will be able to recognize it when it is uploaded maliciously. News of the Australian project comes months after the company announced a slew of measures to protect revenge porn victims.

Facebook and Instagram users worried about becoming victims of revenge porn will have to fill out a form on the Australian e-safety commissioner’s website, The Guardian reports. Users will then be asked to send to themselves, through Facebook Messenger, the images they fear being shared without consent.

“It would be like sending yourself your image in email, but obviously this is a much safer, secure end-to-end way of sending the image without sending it through the ether,” Australian e-Safety Commissioner Julie Inman Grant told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation.

Once uploaded, the image would be hashed by Facebook, which means it is likely to raise red flags when someone posts it, according to Inman.

They’re not storing the image, they’re storing the link and using artificial intelligence and other photo-matching technologies. 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.

According to the Cyber Civil Rights Initiative, nearly half of U.S. adults, ages 26 and under, have shared nude or semi-nude images with others. In a survey comprising 3,044 participants, the non-profit organization reported that 8 percent of the participants were victims of revenge porn, while nearly 5 percent claimed they were threatened with a leak of explicit content.

The Data and Society Research Institute states nearly a tenth of American women under the age of 30 who use the Internet have been threatened with revenge porn, also called non-consensual image sharing.

In April, Facebook announced means to report revenge porn by flagging images shared without consent. Reporting an image can help Facebook prevent it from being shared.

“We then use photo-matching technologies to help thwart further attempts to share the image on Facebook, Messenger and Instagram. If someone tries to share the image after it’s been reported and removed, we will alert them that it violates our policies and that we have stopped their attempt to share it,” Facebook said in the announcement.

[Featured Image by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images]

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