Facebook is using photo-matching to tackle 'revenge porn'

A man poses with a magnifier in front of a Facebook logo on display in this illustration taken in Sarajevo
Facebook is using photo-matching to tackle 'revenge porn'
Author

07 April, 2017

Facebook today introduced new tools created to help victims of so-called revenge porn.

"This is part of our ongoing effort to help build a safe community on and off Facebook". Users will be given a new option to report images and videos they believe might be revenge porn.

Specially trained representatives from our community operations team review the image and remove it if it violates our community standards. To thwart further attempts to share the image on Facebook, it's going to use photo-matching technologies.

Facebook has faced legal trouble over revenge porn, including last fall, when a 14-year-old United Kingdom girl whose naked photo was posted on the social network filed a lawsuit. And, they may disable the accounts of those who share the images "in many cases". 17% of lesbian, gay or bisexual individuals have been affected by the non-consensual sharing of intimate photos online, compared to just 2% of heterosexuals.

As well as introducing photo-recognition technology across its services, the firm has also added new features to help report images shared without permission on Facebook. There is an "appeals process" if the user believes the Facebook team made a mistake.

"Revenge porn" refers to the sharing of sexually explicit images on the internet, without the consent of those depicted in the pictures, in order to extort or humiliate them. Almost half of all victims were also stalked or harassed by users online after their images were shared; 30 percent of victims were harassed or stalked in person or over the phone.

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Facebook closed the group, but could not prevent the images from being re-shared on sites it did not control.

Facebook hasn't said how many images or reports they've received relating to possible revenge porn.

Davis told the BBC that the company is working towards finding a way to prevent initial posting of such imagery, but in the meantime they're still depending on users to flag images.

Facebook has pledged to stop revenge porn being published on its network, including Facebook itself, Instagram and Messenger.

The company will also extend its fight into the real world by partnering up with safety organizations that will offer support to victims of revenge porn. These include the UK's Revenge Porn Helpline and the Cyber Civil Rights initiative.


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