Facebook appeals for nude photos in battle against revenge porn

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Facebook is asking users to send nude photographs of themselves in a bid to prevent the same images being shared on the social network as revenge porn.

Users concerned about intimate images of themselves ending up on Facebook are being invited to send the photos to themselves using Facebook’s Messenger app.

Facebook wants users to send nude photographs to stop the spread of revenge porn

Facebook wants users to send nude photographs to stop the spread of revenge porn

The images are then ‘hashed’, which applies a unique identifier code to the file. If anyone tries to upload the picture once it has been hashed, Facebook is able to check the code against its database and block it. The content is also blocked from Messenger and Facebook-owned Instagram.

The social network is trialing the technology in Australia in partnership with the office of government eSafety Commissioner Julie Inman Grant.

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“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,” Ms Inman Grant told ABC.

“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.”

Australian users are being encouraged to alert the eSafety Commissioner about the image they’re concerned about by completing a form on her website, and send it to themselves on Messenger.

The Commissioner’s office will notify Facebook of the submission, before a community operations analyst accesses it and hashes it. Consequently, Facebook stores the image for a short amount of time before deleting it, Facebook confirmed. The sender is then also recommended to delete the image.

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As of September last year, more than 200 people in the UK had been prosecuted following the introduction of a revenge porn law in 2015.

Facebook and other tech companies including Microsoft, Google and YouTube also use hashing technology to prevent extremist material and child abuse content from being uploaded to their platforms.

The trial is the latest in several measures Facebook has taken to clamp down on the sharing of revenge porn. In April it added the option for users to report pictures or video they are concerned have been shared without consent.

READ MORE: New revenge porn laws could see offenders jailed for five years

A team of specially trained representatives from Facebook’s community operations team will then review the image to decide whether it should be taken down. If they decide the images have been shared violate Facebook’s community standards, in many cases, the account which shared the image will be disabled, the company said.

This article first appeared on our sister site, iNews